EDGE: Engineering Design Guide and Environment
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Project Information - P06213

Project Name: P06213
Project Description: Hydrogen Fuel Cell Testing Station
Project track:
DPM (Planning) term:
SD1 (Starting) term: 2005-2
SD2 (Ending) term: 2005-3
Description: The NanoPower Research Laboratories (NPRL) is in need of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell testing station. Currently, NPRL fabricates single-walled carbon nanotube and multi-walled carbon nanotube electrodes for hydrogen fuel cells, but lack a controlled environment to generate accurate and reproducible results. The ideal testing station is one in which temperature and pressure are monitored and controlled, includes a fuel delivery system, employs a quick release mechanical assembly apparatus, and interfaces with computer software, e.g., LabVIEW?. In summary, the NPRL is proposing to sponsor a senior design team to design, fabricate, and test a computer monitored and controlled fuel cell testing station.


The key parameters the testing station needs to monitor/control include:

? Temperature

? Internal pressure

? Humidity

? Fuel delivery rates

? Software interface

All of the above parameters are those that are monitored and/or controlled on commercially available testing stations. The Mechanical Engineering Department has a fuel cell testing station that the team can base their design upon.


In addition to meeting the above requirements the NPRL is interested in the following enhancements over currently available systems:

? Quick connect-disconnect fuel cell holding fixture.

? Quick connect-disconnect fuel cell holding fixture which secures the fuel cell membrane assembly with a repeatable pressure.

? Quick connect-disconnect fuel cell holding fixture(s) capable of accommodating fuel cell membrane assemblies of various sizes and geometries.


With such a large push in the hydrogen economy, participation in this project will provide students with hands on experience with fuel cell testing stations giving them an advantage with prospective employers. In addition, the possibility of developing intellectual property in the area of quick connect-disconnect fuel cell holding fixtures is likely. NOTE: 4 ME (1 with CAD and mechanical assembly experience, 1 with strong thermo/fluids knowledge)


1 ISE (interdisciplinary engineering skills highly desired)


1 CE (basic programming and/or familiarity with GUIs needed)


2 EE (3 if no CE available, ability to do basic circuit design and integration of electronics into control system)
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