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Fuel Cell Platform

Published on 18 January 2022

​Fuel Cell Platform

A holistic approach from materials to system integration

The Fuel Cell Platform tackles PEMFC (Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell) research from a unique angle, addressing materials, membrane-electrode assemblies, bipolar plates, stacks and the associated system environment, and testing, both in the lab and in conditions representative of actual use cases. The Fuel Cell Platform brings more than 25 years of experience and a robust intellectual property strategy to its core mission of accelerating the transfer of new technologies to the transportation and stationary market segments.

One example of how CEA-Liten is driving innovation is the integration of printed components into fuel cells. The institute developed a 1 kW PEMFC fuel cell stack concept made up of around 20 cells with screen printed patterns. This innovation brings several major benefits. First, in-line printing processes will bring costs down. Second, printing could boost power densities to 6 kW/L. Finally, printing has the potential to enable affordable fast prototyping.

The Fuel Cell Platform has extensive PEMFC durability and performance testing resources, with 30-odd test benches that can handle fuel cells up to 100 kW. It also has system testing capabilities for systems up to 400 kW and can set the temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure to replicate severe environments in the real world.  

Fuel-cell safety is a major topic of research, especially for hydrogen-powered road vehicles. Data from the platform's tank safety testing campaigns will be used to develop future regulations for vehicles and civil engineering structures.

The platform's holistic approach also encompasses research on PEMFC durability, performance, and integration.

The platform's activities are organized in five units:

   Fuel cell core and MEA unit:  

  • Manufacture membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) for different stack designs
  • Scale up new technologies
  • Develop new manufacturing processes

   Fuel cell core electrochemical characterization unit:
  • Test and characterize MEAs in single-cell or stack mode
  • Use databases to create new knowledge
   Stack and bipolar plate assembly unit:
  • Develop innovative bipolar plates at lab and prototype scales
  • Improve stack design and assembly for better performance
  • Develop, reliability-test, and use automated assembly machines
   Fuel cell system unit: 
  • Develop and build systems for mobility applications
  • Design innovative new architectures
  • Characterize PEM and hybrid system prototypes
   Qualification and testing unit:

  • Complete electrical tests and leverage the data
  • Understand degradation mechanisms to improve durability and performance
  • Instrument PEMFCs to acquire local physical data

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  • €10 million in investment

  • 1300 sq. m

  • Grenoble