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Design Of A Laboratory Experiment To Measure Fuel Cell Stack Efficiency And Load Response

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Sustainable Energy Education

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.357.1 - 15.357.15



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Paper Authors

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Joshua Goldade University of North Dakota

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Tessa Haagenson University of North Dakota

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Hossein Salehfar University of North Dakota

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Mike Mann University of North Dakota

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Design of a Laboratory Experiment to Measure FC Stack Efficiency and Load Response

The University of _____ is one of a number of institutions of higher education working to train the next generation of engineers in the realm of renewable energy technology. Fuel cells are one component of this continually changing and progressing field. The importance of this technology cannot be overlooked in the overall energy production portfolio and is evidenced by their prevalence in an increasing number of industry applications. In order to ensure that engineering students graduating from the University are prepared to contribute to the continued growth of the utilization of fuel cells, efforts are being made to incorporate fuel cell education into the engineering curriculum.

The Department of Energy provided five universities with a grant to acquire fuel cell technology education tools. One of the tools acquired by The University of _____ is an Ulmer Brennstoffsellen-Manufacturing 600W Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell system. This fuel cell will be used to compliment the Renewable Energy Systems class with laboratory experiments. The goal is that the laboratory along with the class will provide the Junior, Senior, and Graduate level Electrical and Chemical engineering students with hands-on experience. This allows the student to supplement their classroom background with actual results. These results can then be examined through comparison with theoretical data.

This paper lays out the design and implementation of two laboratories using the 600W PEM fuel cell. The first lab illustrates how to determine the efficiency of the fuel cell stack. The knowledge gained though this lab is important for sizing fuel cell stacks to match the system into which they are integrated. The second lab will investigate the load response time of the stack. This will provide students with a better understanding of how fast fuel cells can increase or decrease their power output to match the demand of the load.

Both of these labs are designed to give students hands-on experience with applications that are very important in the world of power production. It is through these types of experiments that students gain the knowledge they need to ensure success in their future endeavors.


A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that turns the chemical energy stored in a fuel directly into electrical energy. This renewable energy technology is gaining attention as one of the most versatile options for fulfilling electricity demands in an increasingly energy-hungry world. However, as the prevalence of alternative energy technologies like fuel cells grows, so must the number of professionals trained to work with these technologies. Thus, exposure to and understanding of fuel cells at the university level will be paramount in preparing the next generation of renewable energy engineers. This lab helps prepare those engineers by exposing them to basic characteristics of PEM fuel cells such as their efficiency and response to loading. Teaching students these basic characteristics will help them understand how fuel cells need to be sized for specific applications. Coupling the efficiency of the fuel cell with its load response shows what types of applications fuel cells can be used for.

Goldade, J., & Haagenson, T., & Salehfar, H., & Mann, M. (2010, June), Design Of A Laboratory Experiment To Measure Fuel Cell Stack Efficiency And Load Response Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16866

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