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Component Failure Analysis From the U.S. Army ERDC-CERL Residential Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells Demonstration

[+] Author Affiliations
Scott A. Kenner, Gregory J. Ropp

Concurrent Technologies Corporation

Nicholas M. Josefik, Scott M. Lux, James L. Knight, Franklin H. Holcomb

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Melissa K. White

Jones Technologies, Inc.

Paper No. FUELCELL2006-97245, pp. 935-941; 7 pages
  • ASME 2006 4th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2006 Fourth International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, Parts A and B
  • Irvine, California, USA, June 19–21, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4247-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-3780-7
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Background: The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL) continues to manage The Department of Defense (DoD) Residential Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cell Demonstration Project. This project was funded by the United States Congress for fiscal years 2001 through 2004. A fleet of 91 residential-scale PEM fuel cells, ranging in size from 1 to 5 kW, has been demonstrated at various U.S. DoD facilities around the world. Approach: The performance of the fuel cells has been monitored over a 12-month field demonstration period. A detailed analysis has been performed cataloging the component failures, investigating the mean time of the failures, and the mean time between failures. A discussion of the lifespan and failure modes of selected fuel cell components, based on component type, age, and usage will be provided. This analysis also addresses fuel cell stack life for both primary and back-up power systems. Several fuels were used throughout the demonstration, including natural gas, propane, and hydrogen. A distinction will be made on any variances in performance based on the input fuel stock. Summary: This analysis will provide an overview of the ERDC-CERL PEM demonstration fuel cell applications and the corresponding data from the field demonstrations. Special emphasis will be placed on the components, fuel cell stack life, and input fuel characteristics of the systems demonstrated.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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