Smart Test solutions partners up for high-power fuel cell testing project

The aviation industry, for one, plans to use 200 kW cells, meaning current test benches are inadequate
(Image courtesy of Airbus)

As part of the FullStack TS fuel cell test bench project, a new generation of test benches is being developed to cover full stacks of cells of up to 200 kW. In the project, Smart Testsolutions will be responsible for monitoring the cell voltages.

The project’s funding comes from the Baden-Wurttemberg Lebens-grundlage Umwelt und ihre Sicherung programme. Smart Testsolutions’ partners are MS2 Engineering und Anlagenbau and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.

Current fuel cell test benches can accommodate up to 150 kW. For some applications, however, that is no longer sufficient. The aviation industry, for example, plans to use cells with an output of up to 200 kW. In addition, the existing test bench capacity in Baden-Wurttemberg is too small.

The aim of the project therefore is to develop and operate a heavy-duty test stand. Fraunhofer will take on that part and develop a corresponding test environment. MS2 will be responsible for developing and building the test stand.

As part of the project, Smart Testsolutions is expanding the performance of its cell voltage monitoring systems from a maximum of 500 to a maximum of 600 measuring channels, with 1000 measured values per second per measuring channel.

In addition, the company wants to develop multi-channel impedance spectroscopy in order to be able to determine specific ageing parameters of the cells. Existing impedance spectroscopy devices are limited to a few channels, making time-synchronous measurements impossible for fuel cell stacks with several hundred cells.

The more parallelisation that can be achieved here, the more precise the statements that can be made about the electrochemical condition of the stack. In addition, the corresponding measurements are accelerated and costs are saved.