One of the long-time issues with hydrogen fuel cells for cars has been durability. If a fuel cell has to compete with gasoline or diesel engines for customers then they need to last nearly as long if not excel in durability. Up until now this hasn’t been the case.
ACAL Energy has recently created such a PEM fuel cell for cars. The FlowCath® fuel cell has been tested to reach at least 10,000 hours of runtime without significant degradation. This equals approximately 300,000 miles of driving.
According to ACAL Energy, “ACAL Energy’s breakthrough approach is also significantly cheaper than conventional fuel cell technology. 10,000 hours, the equivalent of 300,000 driven miles, is the point at which hydrogen fuel cell endurance is comparable to the best light-weight diesel engines under such test conditions. This endurance far exceeds the current 2017 US Department of Energy (DoE) industry target for fuel cell powered vehicles to last 5,000 hours, equivalent to 150,000 road miles, with an expected degradation threshold of approximately 10%.
“Over the last 16 months, ACAL Energy has put its proprietary design fuel cell through an industry standard automotive stress test protocol that simulates a 40-minute car journey with a start-stop at the end of each cycle. The cycle, which was repeated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, mimics a vehicle journey with frequent stops, starts and a highway cruise. This particular test is employed to accelerate aging and to stress wear on car engines and fuel cell systems over time.
“Unlike a conventional PEM hydrogen fuel cell design, ACAL Energy’s technology does not rely on platinum as the catalyst for the reaction between oxygen and hydrogen. The platinum and gas have been replaced with a patented liquid catalyst, which ACAL Energy calls FlowCath®. This revolutionary approach dramatically improves a PEM fuel cell’s durability and at the same time reduces the cost of a system. The liquid acts as both a coolant and catalyst for the cell’s, ensuring that they last longer by removing most of the known decay mechanisms.”
So, for the naysayers against hydrogen cars who have long said that fuel cells will never match internal combustion engines in regard to durability, another shoe has dropped. The naysayers continue get quieter and quieter …
Tip of the Hat …
And a tip of the hat to U. S. Energy Independence Day July 10 every year.