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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L018330/1
Title: Real-Time H2 Purification and Monitoring for Efficient and Durable Fuel Cell Vehicles
Principal Investigator: Guo, Professor ZX
Other Investigators:
Gardner, Professor JW Shah, Dr AA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Alsitek Limited Cambridge CMOS Sensors Scottish Hydro & Fuel Cell Assoc SHFCA
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 14 March 2014 Ends: 13 September 2018 Value (£): 1,005,821
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Sustainable Energy Vectors
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
05 Dec 2013 SUPERGEN Hydrogen Challenge (2013) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Hydrogen and fuel cells (HFCs) offer multiple advantages, such as low urban pollution / CO2 emission, quiet operation, low self-discharge, high energy density and extended driving ranges. The technology simultaneously addresses many of the major energy and environmental challenges, and shows the flexibility to integrate the diverse/intermittent renewable energy sources that are increasingly installed across Europe and emphasized in EU "Horizon 2020" [1,2]. It is estimated that the HFC market will reach $3 billion with hydrogen demand from fuel cells > 140 million kg in 2030 [1]. However, the technology is not yet economically competitive with other fuel systems, e.g. gas turbines for balancing electrical grids, Li-ion batteries for domestic storage, nor high compression ratio diesel engines for transport. Two important factors contributing to the elevated costs of HFCs are: (1) the additional cost of high-purity H2 needed to extend asset lifetime, especially when the H2 is generated from diverse sources or supplied by an on-board hydride/hybrid tank; (2) the cost associated with the limited lifetime of HFCs due to impurity built-up or catalytic poisoning. Therefore, low-cost and in-line H2 purification and impurity monitoring are crucial for the reduction of H2 fuel costs and fuel cell running cost due to extended lifetime of the fuel cell stacks.

This multi-disciplinary proposal will seek to address both problems by: (1) developing low-cost and high performance in-situ H2 purification systems to reduce H2 fuel cost for HFCs; (2) developing low-cost, robust CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) gas sensors for real-time impurity monitoring both to reduce cell maintenance costs and extend the lifetime of HFCs. These two issues represent two critical impediments to the future of hydrogen technology.

Members of the consortium provide complementary expertise in hydrogen storage and purification [XG & AS], hydrogen fuel cells, including catalyst poisoning and other degradation phenomena [AS], development of gas/chemical microsensors [JG], as well as large project design and management [XG, JG]; thus enabling the consortium to develop an integrated approach to H2 purification and impurity monitoring offering novel design, fundamental analysis, and optimal integration of such devices for efficient, low-cost and high-purity hydrogen delivery. We propose to work closely with the HFC Hub, UKERC, and our industrial supporters, as well as other relevant agencies and scientists in the UK and internationally, to accelerate the technology transfer of HFCs to industry.

Key word: hydrogen fuel cell, purification, gas sensors, impurity monitoring

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