Fuel Cell Application Centre of Innovation

1. Introduction Fuel cells such as Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs) and Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC) have emerged as an enabling technology for the hydrogen economy. Realizing the significance and the potential widespread application of these types of fuel cells, our R&D group – Power Electronics and Energy Efficiency Group has embarked on several fuel cell industry collaboration projects with GasHub Technology Pte Ltd – a leading fuel cell company in South East Asia, Institutes of Higher Learning such as Nanyang Technological University and SouthWest Jiaotong University China as well as National Research Institutes such as Institute of Materials Research And Engineering and Exploit in Singapore to develop commercially viable prototypes. This report details the R&D group activities in fuel cell and its applications. The multi-disciplinary team is currently working on several projects to develop commercial prototypes such as the scalable PEMFC based power plant; PEMFC based Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for the Telecommunication Industry, an Automated Test System to assess performance of Fuel Cell and Fuel Cell Stack, Portable Hydrogen Generator Development and DMFC Application Development. The team has successfully developed a DMFC prototype as well as a portable hydrogen generator system. We will be embarking on an expansion plan to realize our vision as a leading renewable energy applications player amongst Institutes of Higher Learning. Our present facility will be expanded to include a separate workspace for chemical, fuel cell mechanical assembly, a product showcase cum exhibition and a test bedding facility for fuel cell. We are recruiting more technically competent staffs to work on the increasing number of fuel cell projects.

The occurrence of the reversed-polarity voltage on the individual cell indicates that the cell was under “fuel starved” condition and thus functioned as a load. under no load and load conditions. compared to a typical power conditioner and load. A better understanding of the electrical responses of the PEM fuel cell and stack would lead to an optimal fuel cell system design with high efficiency.1 shows the performances of a 1 kW stack built in-house in our laboratory. slow dynamic behavior of a PEM fuel cell. voltage curves leading to reversal in polarity of output voltages when electrical load was applied. limits the fuel cell speed response to transient load changes. Fig.5 s to 2 s without load.2. The built-up time of stack is about 1.1. However. compact structure and reduced cost for backup power sources. However. No.15 to 20) exhibited undershoot peaks in their build-up response vs. The curves in the Figure 1 indicate that fuel cell performance is improved with increasing temperatures in the measured range.2 illustrates voltage build-up times of individual cells and stack.5 s for both cases. the individual cells far from the gas inlet (for instance. and from 1 s to 3. The . This results in increasing size and cost.2 (a) and (b). The voltage build-up time of an individual cell ranges from 0. Our goal in this project is to study and analyze the electrical response properties of the PEMFCs (such as voltage build-up time and transient behavior). show that the voltage buildup time of an individual cell increases with increasing numbers of fuel cells from the gas inlet. To speed up the fuel cell response to transient load changes. Fig. 2. the build-up time of fuel cell stack is not influenced significantly by the presence of electrical load. we need to install intermediate energy storage elements such as battery and supercapacitors in the system. On the other hand. The graphs in Fig.5 s with load. Selected Projects Design and Development of PEM Fuel Cell Based UPS System for a Major Telecommunication Service Provider The use of fuel cell technology as a backup power source for the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) requires quick response to sudden load changes.

19 18 17 Voltage / V 16 15 14 13 12 11 0 200 400 600 -2 30 40 50 60 0 0 C C 0 C 0 C Stoic:H 2=1. Air= 2.response time corresponding to “fuel starved” condition varies between 0.5 Pressure: 0. An important conclusion drawn from this study is that the PEMFC rise time to electrical load is several seconds at the initial voltage build-up. This indicates that PEMFC as UPS cannot meet the critical demand of the quick dynamic response to sudden load changes (in microseconds) and that intermediate energy storage elements such as battery and super-capacitors are required to compensate for sudden load changes.1 The performance of 1 kW PEMFC stack at different temperature .5 atm Humidity anode and cathode: 100% 800 1000 Current / mAcm Fig.15.5 s to 1 s and is related to the location of the individual cells from the gas inlet.

6 (b) 15 Stack voltage / V Cell voltage / V 0.5 1.4 10 0.0 3.5 5 0.4 10 0.20 0.0 0.5 3.0 4.8 20 0.0 25 Stack voltage / V Cell voltage / V 0.5 4.1.0 1.14 cell No.5 2.5 2.0 0 -0.5 -5 5.2 The voltage built-up time of individual cells and stack with and without load .2 cell N o.1 cell N o.2 5 0.0 1.0 Time / s Fig.0 2.0 3.0 2.6 (a) 15 0.15 cell No.1 cell No.20 0.5 1.8 20 0.0 0 Tim / s e 25 0.2 30 1.2 cell No.5 3.10 cell N o.0 0.

2. The one-pass flow system is driven by a spring acting with a push/pull mechanism for feeding fuel and recovering waste. The .3 Our experimental set-up 2.Fig. (3) gas-liquid separator as schematically illustrated in Fig. Portable Hydrogen Generator A portable hydrogen generator based on hydrolysis of NaBH4 was successfully developed in our laboratory. The borohydride system comprises of (1) fuel storage/waste recovery tank. (2) a reactor. 4.

system simplicity and low cost.5 Our experimental set-up 2.3. Fig. DMFC Mobile Phone Charger – A Poly-A*STAR Project An air-breathing DMFC stack for hand-phone charger has been developed in our fuel cell lab. The DMFC stack consists of three cells featuring flexible graphite .4 Schematic diagram of our patented hydrogen generator system Fig.advantages of the patented hydrogen generator system are compactness.

.4. The DMFC integrated system with DC/DC converter can output 1.6). This project attempts to harness alternative energy sources – that includes natural gas and solar energy .to produce hydrogen • To design a scalable power plant using PEM fuel cell through hydrogen generated by alternative energy sources such as natural gas and solar energy.6 An image of our developed DMFC charger prototype 2. monitoring and power conditioning system to manage a network of low-power fuel cells to achieve high power output.5 W at the voltage of 1.2 V. Current activity focuses on developing increasingly larger capacity fuel cells. Scalable Fuel Cell Power Plant Toteboard Project This project aims is to design a scalable power plant using low temperature fuel cell through hydrogen generated by alternative energy sources.bipolar plate with the total thickness of 1 cm (Fig. The output of the stack is 1. This project attempts to design and develop a total control.2 W at the voltage of 3. Fig. Technical challenges abound – escalating production costs with increasing size and large fuel cells are not easily mass-producible.6 V.

W. Singapore.23rd June. W. J.K. A. W. 3. 2006 • "Investigation of electrical response of PEM fuel cell". Y. 11 – 15 December. J. Jia. Lim. Han. B. 5th International Conference on materials Processing for Properties and Performance. B.23rd June. Han. Au. Y. Cham. B. W. Our Selected Publications • “The Characteristics Study of PEM Fuel Cell as a Telecom Backup Power Supply”. Cham. M. 11 – 15 December. Au. 20th . Y. Y. Han. Lim. monitoring and power conditioning system to manage a network of low-power fuel cells to achieve high power output.T. Lim. Jia. 5th International Conference on materials Processing for Properties and Performance. B. A.K. Jia. Singapore. Singapore. and M. • "Design and manufacture of small PEM fuel cell stacks". Jia. Han. Lim. 2006 • “Design and manufacture of small PEM fuel cell stacks”.T.B.T. China.T. 2006. Guangzhou. Au. W.K. J. 11 – 15 December. Cham. 2006. J. Cham. 20th .T. Lim and M. Han and A.K. • We will design and develop a total control. .K. The 3rd Guangzhou Fuel Cell Conference. 5th International Conference on materials Processing for Properties and Performance. A. • Technical challenges abound – escalating production costs with increasing size and large fuel cells are not easily mass-producible. A. Cham. Au. M. J. 2006 • “Fuel Cell Research & Development Activities in Temasek Polytechnic”. China. Au. The 3rd Guangzhou Fuel Cell Conference. Guangzhou. Jia. Y. M.• Current activity focuses on developing increasingly larger capacity fuel cells.

T. November. 20th . W. B. The 3rd Guangzhou Fuel Cell Conference. Lim.23rd June. J. 2006. Singapore. Jia. • "An Embedded Microchip System Design for Programmable Solar Panel Simulator". 03 – 05 October. Cham Yew Thean.Tan.• "Investigation of self-humidifying membrane electrode assembly in PEM fuel cells". Cham Yew Thean. The 6th IEEE International Conference on Power Electronics and Drive Systems (PEDS’05).2001. Shrikrishna Kulkarni.K. 2003. Au Wing Kong. • "A Novel PC Based Solar Electric Panel Simulator".. Cham. October. Au Wing Kong. Guangzhou. China. Jia Junbo. Han. Au Wing Kong. 2005.The 4th IEEE International Conference on Power Electronics and Drive Systems (PEDS’01). Y. • "A Novel Automatic Electronic Resettable Circuit for Detecting & Switching off Failing Fluorescent Lamp". Malaysia. K. The 5th IEEE International Conference on Power Electronics and Drive Systems (PEDS’03). Joshi Shamkant Dattatraya. 2005.K. • "A Review of PEM Fuel Cells". A. 28 November -01 December. Jia Junbo. . M. World Hydrogen Technologies Convention (WHTC 2005). Au. Cham Yew Thean.