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Implementation Of A Fuel Cell Laboratory

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.689.1 - 14.689.10



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Paper Authors

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Homayoon Abtahi Florida Atlantic University

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Ali Zilouchian Florida Atlantic University

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

Development of a Prototype Fuel Cell Laboratory*


Florida Atlantic University has recently developed a prototype interdisciplinary undergraduate fuel cell (FC) laboratory. The new laboratory addresses simple and effective approaches for the implementation of fuel cell technology and its applications through the innovative industrial design techniques, incorporation of real-time sensory interfacing and other applicable industrial advances. The implementation phase of the laboratory has been recently achieved in collaboration with a leading industry with over 15 years experience in design, fabrication and implementation of fuel cells in both stationary and mobile applications. Students from electrical, mechanical, ocean and computer engineering are currently benefiting from opportunities the laboratory provides in design, experiment and simulation of fuel cells. The laboratory consists of a prototype experimental station. The station contains three microcomputer, three Data Acquisition boards, several sensors and actuators, and eight experimental setups.

Authors have recently offered a new course entitled “Introduction to Fuel Cell Technology” in conjunction with the FC laboratory. In addition, multi-disciplinary student groups from senior design classes are utilizing the lab for FC design projects. It is anticipated that the current development of the new laboratory will have a direct impact on undergraduate education by creating a focal point for interdisciplinary learning, a balance between theoretical and hands-on experience in undergraduate teaching, and application of these educational tools in a vibrant technology sector. The evaluation plan for the course materials focuses on three general areas. The first focus is on the assessment of the course modules. The second focus is related to student-identified strengths/weaknesses of the course/modules. Finally, the third focus is to document the course/curricular refinements resulting from the evaluative data obtained by end of spring 2008 semester.


The population of the United States is projected to increase from the current level of 303 million to 438 million by the year 20501. Only 0.2 % of all energy consumed comes from solar and wind generation, and only 3.3% is derived from bio-fuels and biomass2 .

The commitment of the new US administration to lead the US to a new era of less dependence on energy imports, and a serious move to renewable sources of energy presents great opportunities for job creation and economic development. Jobs that are based on home-grown green energy supplies may be one of the many anchors that may stabilize our nation and help the economic turn-around.

The technical and scientific challenges to provide reliable energy for the nation in a short 30 year period are enormous tasks, and especially so when combined with strategic and recent economic concerns. It is clear that as part of the mix of energy sources necessary to deal with these challenges, solar and hydrogen fuel cells will play critical or even a central role. The US Department of Energy, as well as a number of the national laboratories and academic institutions have been aware of the importance of solar and hydrogen for some time. Recently, car

Abtahi, H., & Zilouchian, A. (2009, June), Implementation Of A Fuel Cell Laboratory Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5667

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