Fuel Cells for Transportation

This is a three-day course which provides a comprehensive and up to date introduction to fuel cells for use in automotive engineering applications. It is intended for engineers and particularly engineering managers who want to jumpā€start their understanding of this emerging technology and to enable them to engage in its development. Following a brief description of fuel cells and how they work, how they integrate and add value, and how hydrogen is produced, stored and distributed, the course will provide the status of the technology from fundamentals through to practical implementation.

Day 1 will have a brief introduction to fuel cells and then go through fundamentals of fuel cells: the thermodynamic principles involving the electrochemical potential, the kinetics of electrode reactions, principles of electrocatalysis, and electrochemical methods of characterization. Included will be the set of governing equations that define the physical processes involved in single cells.

Day 2 will focus on fuel cells stacks incorporating polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMFCs). It discusses the functional aspects of the stack key components, including the membrane, porous electrodes, gas diffusion media, current collectors and water and thermal management. It also points to the key design requirements affecting performance, cost and reliability, as well as the methods and costs of manufacturing.

Day 3 will focus on those aspects which relate to the use of fuel cells in systems specifically designed for transportation and discusses typical system architectures, performance requirements, critical parameters and specifications, and system controls. Reference is made to the most recent implementations and advances in the industry, including efforts by Toyota, Hyundai and SAIC. Issues relating to achieving technical readiness are described, and ample references are given to enable the participant for follow-up after the course.

What Will You Learn

By attending this seminar, you will be able to:
  • Identify the concepts and terminology of fuel cells in automotive applications
  • Describe the key components of fuel cells stacks
  • Explain the key design requirements that affect cost and reliability.
  • Explain the major failure modes limiting performance and reliability.
  • Design and develop fuel cells in systems specifically intended for transportations
  • Follow the development of this subject in the open literature with ample references and examples

Course Requirements

This data is not available at this time


Day One
  • Fundamentals
    • Introduction to Fuel Cells
    • How fuel cells work, types of fuel cells
    • Why PEM fuel cells are chosen for transportation and how they integrate and bring value
    • Hydrogen as an energy carrier: its production, storage and distribution
    • The Electrochemical Potential
    • Fuel Cell Thermodynamics and the Nernst Equation
    • The effects of pressure and concentration
    • Kinetics of Reactions
    • Transition Rate Theory, the Butler-Volmer equation and the polarization curve
    • Fuel cell power and efficiency
    • Electrocatalysis
    • The role of catalysts, heat of adsorption and volcano plots, the oxygen reduction reaction
    • Current Distribution and Mass Transport
    • The Nernst-Plank equation, concentration over-potentials, and fuel cell operating conditions
    • Characterization Methods
    • Voltammetry, current-interrupt and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
Day Two
  • The Fuel Cell Stack and its Key Components
    • Polymer Electrolyte Membranes
    • Nafion and its structure, conductivity mechanisms and methods of deterioration
    • Water and Thermal Management
    • Flooding, drying, and stack health; cold startup and hot shut down
    • Porous Electrodes
    • Functional requirements of electrodes, nanostructure, and the triple phase boundary
    • Methods of manufacture
    • Catalyst Types and Loading
    • Platinum and its alloys, particle size effects and degradation mechanisms
    • The impact of platinum loading on cost, performance and availability
    • Strategies for reducing platinum loading and improved performance
    • Methods of catalyst support and impacts on electrode degradation
    • Gas Diffusion Media
    • Functional requirements, materials and structure
    • Methods and cost of manufacture
    • Bi-Polar Plates
    • Functional requirements, alternative materials and flow fields
    • Methods and cost of manufacture
    • Fuel Cell Stack Design and Integration Considerations
    • Integration of stack, air and fuel handling systems, thermal and water management, and controls
    • Fuel cell system sizing
Day Three
  • Fuel Cell Systems for Transportation
    • Current fuel cell applications
    • Toyota, Hyundai and SAIC and Domestic Players
    • Requirements for automobiles, buses and trucks
    • Key target metrics for performance, cost, durability and safety
    • Typical System Architectures
    • Hybrid Fuel Cell Systems and Control Strategies
    • DOE Systems and Manufacturing Studies
    • Standard architectures for cost comparison studies; cost outlooks; manufacturing methods
    • Fuel Cell Controls
    • Methods of system integration and control, including model predictive control
    • Recent Advances
    • Advances in stack power density, materials, catalyst design and water management
    • Summary
    • Current state of the art and future challenges