Improving Fuel Cell Performance and Durability

Michigan Technological University has been awarded $897,000 to investigate methods of improving automotive fuel cell performance and durability. The award is part of a $2.7 million Department of Energy collaborative project with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), General Motors (GM), and Michigan Tech (MTU).

Jeffrey Allen, (in photo) Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, is the MTU investigator for this project. Collaborators on this project include the principal investigator Satish Kandlikar, the James E. Gleason Professor of Mechanical Engineering at RIT, and Dr. Thomas Trabold, Senior Research Engineer with GM Fuel Cell Development Center.

The project, Visualization of Fuel Cell Water Transport and Performance Characterization, will explore water transport and accumulation in automotive fuel cells with the goal to develop components and materials which minimize water accumulation and freeze damage which degrade performance and durability of automotive fuel cells.

The three year project, beginning March 1, 2007, will involve undergraduate, master’s degree and doctoral engineering students. The project is part of a $100 million hydrogen research and development program announced by the Department of Energy supporting President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative.