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TM

Hy-Expert Instructor
Fuel Cell System

Experiments Guide
Including Components Description

Heliocentris Energiesysteme GmbH


TM
Experiments guide and components description for the Hy-Expert Instructor Fuel Cell System

5th Edition, September 2005

Copyright © 2005 Heliocentris Energiesysteme GmbH

All rights reserved. These manual and individual parts thereof are protected by copyright. All
exploitation, duplication or photocopying is prohibited except in cases permitted by law.
Components of the hy-Expert™ Instructor Fuel Cell System are protected by patent applications
and/or registered designs.

Head office: North American customers contact:

Heliocentris Energiesysteme GmbH Heliocentris Energy Systems Inc.


Rudower Chaussee 29 3250 East Mall
12489 Berlin Vancouver, BC
Germany Canada V6T 1W5
Tel. (+49 30) 63 92 63 26 Tel. 604 827 5066
Fax (+49 30) 63 92 63 29 Fax 604 827 5069
berlin@heliocentris.com vancouver@heliocentris.com
www.heliocentris.com www.heliocentris.com
General notes

General notes

Heliocentris Energiesysteme GmbH provides this documentation to facilitate the safe and
correct use of the hy-ExpertTM Instructor fuel cell system. All statements, technical information
and recommendations in this documentation and accompanying documents are believed
reliable, but the accuracy and completeness thereof are not guaranteed or warranted. They
are not intended to be, nor should they be understood to be, representations or warranties
concerning the products described.
The following Components Description is a brief version of the hy-ExpertTM Instructor
Operation Guide. It is intended to assist while operation under the supervision of
trained personnel and does not replace the Operation Guide. Before operating this fuel
cell system, please make sure to read and understand the information of the hy-
ExpertTM Instructor Operation Guide. If you have questions, please contact Heliocentris
Energiesysteme GmbH or your supplier.
The hy-ExpertTM Instructor fuel cell system has been sold subject to the limited warranties set
forth in the warranty statement. Further, Heliocentris reserves the right to make changes in
the specifications of the products described in this manual at any time without notice and
without obligation to notify any person of such changes.

© Heliocentris – Energizing education


Table of contents

Table of contents

A: Operating References
A.1 Warnings and safety references
A.2 Product overview
A.3 Fuel Cell Module FC50
A.4 Electronic Load Module EL200
A.5 Voltage Converter Module VC100
A.6 Traffic Light Module TL10
A.7 Control software
A.8 Hydrogen supply option I: Connection set for compressed hydrogen
cylinders
A.9 Hydrogen supply option II: Metal hydride storage with refilling kit
A.10 Hydrogen supply option III: Hydrogen generator with metal hydride
storage

B: Technical basics and didactics


B.1 Learning objectives
B.2 Teaching references and methodology
B.3 Recommended web sites
B.4 References for further reading

© Heliocentris – Energizing education


Table of contents

C: Teacher guides for the experiments


C.1 The basic functions of the fuel cell system
C.2 The characteristic curve of a fuel cell
C.3 Parameters influencing the characteristic curve
C.4 Determination of the hydrogen current curve
C.5 Efficiency of the fuel cell stack
C.6 Set-up of a fuel cell power supply
C.7 Efficiency of a fuel cell power supply
C.8 Fuel cell application I: Remote traffic light
C.9 Fuel cell application II: Fuel cell car

D: Student experiments
D.1 The basic functions of the fuel cell system
D.2 The characteristic curve of a fuel cell
D.3 Parameters influencing the characteristic curve
D.4 Determination of the hydrogen current curve
D.5 Efficiency of the fuel cell stack
D.6 Set-up of a fuel cell power supply
D.7 Efficiency of a fuel cell power supply
D.8 Fuel cell application I: Remote traffic light
D.9 Fuel cell application II: Fuel cell car

© Heliocentris – Energizing education


A.1 Warnings and Safety References 1

A.1 Warnings and Safety References

1 Symbols used in this guide

The following symbols are used in the Experiments Guide to indicate warnings and specific
dangers:

Indicates a potentially dangerous situation. Serious injuries


Warning can occur if this reference is ignored.

Warning Indicates danger of explosion.

Warning Indicates danger from rotary parts.

Warning Indicates danger of short-circuits or electrical shock.

Prohibition No open fire!

Prohibition Smoking prohibited!

Prohibition Do not attempt to extinguish with water!

Draws attention to application tips and other useful


Reference
information. This is not a reference to dangerous situations.

Indicates highly flammable material.

© Heliocentris – Energizing education


2 Warnings and Safety References A.1

2 General Warnings and Safety Instructions

The hy-ExpertTM Instructor fuel cell system has been developed and manufactured according
to recognized technical regulations and is tested for function and safety before delivery.
The hy-ExpertTM Instructor fuel cell system is a laboratory instrument designed for
operation by trained personnel in education and research. The hy-ExpertTM Instructor
is not a "consumer-oriented" product, whose appropriate operation is generally
known and which is protected against operation errors or inappropriate use. Improper
operation or abuse can lead to dangers to the health of the operator, the fuel cell
system itself and other property items.
The Fuel cell system produces low voltage electricity by converting hydrogen
electrochemically. The hydrogen is stored in pressurized cylinders, a metal hydride tank, or
generated by a special hydrogen generator.
The operating and maintenance conditions laid down in these Components Descriptions
must be observed. If the hy-ExpertTM Instructor fuel cell system is passed on to a third party,
the Operating Instructions must also be passed on.

3 Restricted use

The hy-ExpertTM Instructor fuel cell system and its components may only be used for
experimentation, demonstration or research purposes. All other uses are not intended and
therefore prohibited.
For safety reasons, unauthorized modifications or changes to the system or its
components are prohibited. The parts and components of the system may not be
disassembled. In particular, all gas components, such as the gas fittings or the
mounting bolts of the fuel cell stack must not be loosened, since this can cause
hydrogen leakage.

4 Sources of danger

Source of danger Possible consequences Precautions


Use of hydrogen Fire and danger of Avoid open fire and smoking in the
explosion vicinity.

Avoid electrostatic charges.


Wrong polarity when Danger of short-circuits Make sure to have the correct
making electrical polarity when making the electrical
connections connections.

Rotating parts of the Danger from rotating parts Do not put your fingers or other
cooling fans items into the fan housing.

© Heliocentris – Energizing education


A.1 Warnings and Safety References 3

5 Authorized operators

Anyone setting-up, operating or maintaining the hy-ExpertTM Instructor fuel cell system must
be aware of applicable local industrial health and safety regulations. Measures must be taken
to prevent unauthorized persons installing, operating or maintaining the system.
In education, the hy-ExpertTM Instructor fuel cell system may only be used by students under
the supervision of teaching staff. As the teacher you must ensure proper handling of the
system. You have an obligation to draw attention to potential dangers. Installation, start-up,
shut-down—and if necessary, maintenance—of the hydrogen supply as well as filling
the metal hydride storage device may be done only through the teaching staff.

6 Workplace

The hy-ExpertTM Instructor fuel cell system is intended for installation and operation in
a suitable laboratory area. In particular, the room must be equipped with an effective air-
evacuation system that prevents the formation of explosive hydrogen-air mixtures in the
event of any uncontrolled escape of hydrogen. Measures must also be taken to avoid
electrostatic discharge.
Local safety regulations that apply at the installation site must be observed. This
applies in particular to the use and storage of hydrogen compressed gas cylinders that are
not part of the supplied system.
The fuel cell system must be installed on a stable, horizontal and solid base; it must stand
firm.
The catalysts and membranes of the fuel cell are sensitive to dust and reactive chemicals,
e.g. H2S and other sulfur compounds, carbon monoxide, ammonia, chlorine compounds,
solvents, etc. The system must therefore not be set up, operated or stored in rooms where
there is a risk of exposure to these substances.
The permissible working temperature is between +5 °C and +35 °C.

© Heliocentris – Energizing education


4 Warnings and Safety References A.1

7 Safety information about using hydrogen

• Hydrogen is a highly flammable gas.


• Users must take care to ensure that hydrogen is not allowed to collect in an
enclosed or unventilated area, which would cause a flammability hazard
• Avoid heat in the area surrounding the fuel cell system and hydrogen source.
• Smoking and open flames are forbidden.
• Measures must be taken to avoid electrostatic charge.

In addition to its fire danger, hydrogen if allowed to collect in an enclosed or unventilated


area can displace oxygen, thereby creating a risk of asphyxiation. The operator must ensure
the following safety precautions are met:
• Adequate ventilation of the laboratory area
• Proper installation of the hydrogen equipment
• Regular examination of the hydrogen piping and connections for leaks.

8 Safety precautions in an emergency

Significant hydrogen escape:


• Do not operate electrical devices, light switches, etc. as an explosive gas mixture
could be present in the area.
• Immediately shut off the hydrogen source.
• Provide adequate ventilation to clear the affected area.

Fire or explosion:
• Immediately shut off the hydrogen source.
• Report the fire and follow the fire response procedures for your laboratory.
• Leave escaping hydrogen to "burn down". The flame of burning hydrogen is not
visible!
• Use a class D fire extinguisher or dry sand to extinguish burning metal hydride
powder. Do not use water or CO2 extinguishers. If smoldering metal hydride
powder cannot ignite adjacent materials, it may be best to leave the hydride burning.

Other emergencies not involving hydrogen escape:


Immediately switch off the FC50, remove its hydrogen connecting tube and if necessary
close the valve of the compressed hydrogen cylinder or the metal hydride storage canister.

© Heliocentris – Energizing education