Design and development of a 7kW polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell stack for UPS application

G. Squadrito , G. Giacoppo, O. Barbera, F. Urbani, E. Passalacqua, L. Borello, A. Musso, I. Rosso
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 35 (2010) 9983-9989 // 22 November 2009

This work presents the PEMFC stack design methodology developed at CNR-ITAE, in the frame of a collaboration with an industrial partner, Electro Power Systems (EPS), operating in the Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) market. A detailed description of the design procedure of a 7 kW PEMFC stack is reported, starting from technical requirements of the UPS system to experimental tests. Bipolar plate layout, active area surface and shape, maximum (OCV) and minimum voltage, maximum cooling circuit pressure drop, maximum cathodic flow-field pressure drop, were the main constraint that influenced the constructive solutions. The electrochemical performances of Gore Primea 5621 MEA with SGL Sigracet GDL were chosen as reference to select the appropriate operating point in terms of current density and single cell voltage. A current density of 800 mA/cm2 was imposed as operating point of the stack, subsequently main stack parameters were calculated. Three different cathodic flow fields, that were designed to fulfill UPS system requirements, were tested in a single cell arrangement, to find the best gas flow path in terms of compromise between cell performance and pressure drop. Also a specific study was dedicated to the selection of gasket material to find the best compromise between cell performance and limited mechanical stress. The assembled 70 cells unit was tested in a test bench simulating the power system. Preliminary tests of the full unit yielded to a power of 6.2kW at 36 V.

Download the document