University Of Waterloo Scientists Develop New Fuel Cells That Extend Battery Life By 10 Times

University Of Waterloo Scientists Develop New Fuel Cells That Extend Battery Life By 10 Times

Date:Oct 21, 2019

In recent years, more and more people have begun to pay attention to the development prospects of electric vehicles. But it also has some shortcomings, such as short cruising range and expensive battery. Electric cars can travel more than 500 kilometers, but traditional gasoline cars can easily double, and it goes without saying that refueling is much faster than charging electric cars.

What is the solution? Scientists believe that the future of fuel cells can replace the internal combustion engine to become the mainstream. When hydrogen and oxygen combine to form water, the fuel cell generates electrical energy through a chemical reaction, can be stored in the battery or only used to power the engine, and the only emission of the fuel cell is water vapor. And it takes only a few minutes to fill the hydrogen tank, almost the same time as filling a conventional gasoline tank. However, the price of a fuel cell is very expensive, and the life of the fuel cell is short, which means that it needs to be replaced soon, which makes the fuel cell-driven car economically insufficient. But now, scientists at the University of Waterloo have developed a new fuel cell that is at least 10 times longer than the current technology.

Fuel cell life is short? There have been ways to extend fuel cell life by 10 times

Li Xiangguo, one of the scientists behind the invention, said: "We have found ways to reduce costs and still meet durability and performance expectations. We are achieving economic goals while providing zero emissions for transportation applications." These fuel cells do not generate fluctuating current but produce constant power.

Through strategic power management, the researchers allow each battery stack to operate only at a fixed operating point (such as outputting constant power) while reducing its operating time (running) through switch control and innovatively configuring fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. (FC-PHEV) three fuel cell stacks, which greatly improve the durability of the battery. The researchers designed a power management hysteresis control strategy that evenly distributes battery operating time across three fuel cell stacks and reduces the number of switching cycles.

The results show that the durability of on-board fuel cells has increased by 11.8 times, 4.8 times and 6.9 times respectively in urban roads, highways, and city-highway driving.

Fuel cell durability is improved because the average power demand for real-time driving is only a fraction of the maximum power that FC-PHEV can provide, while significantly improving durability can reduce over-engineering of fuel cells and reduce costs. Fuel cell vehicles are an improvement over pure electric vehicles because fuel cell vehicles have a fast fuel filling rate, but electric vehicles charge very slowly. But there is a problem here. Electric vehicles can drive cars directly through electricity. But hydrogen needs electricity first to produce it. Then hydrogen fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen to provide power, so an efficiency is a place that is easily criticized.

Researchers hope to introduce fuel cells in hybrid vehicles that can achieve large-scale production, thereby reducing production costs. By providing a low-cost, safe, reliable, and clean power source, it will pave the way for fuel cells to completely replace batteries and internal combustion engines.

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