Fuel cells for aviation 

At InES, we are an independent research group working on hydrogen fuel cells and systems, on interpreting the macro-, meso-, micro- processes and their interplays numerically and experimentally. Furthermore, we conduct knowledge-based control and integration of these processes for systems.

electrochem energy sys

All the above tasks embody our group and give it a name, the Junior Research Group on “Fuel Cells for Aviation”. As a member of the excellence cluster Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Aviation (SE2A) the group plays an active role in developing fuel cells for clean energy conversion on-board a future passenger airplane. We are seeking drastic improvements on their specific power, reliability, lifetime, as well as flexibilities in operation and in airframe integration, via robust design, via multi-physics modeling, via multiscale analysis and multi-criterion optimization, and via experimental verification. We are pushing them to the limit in fulfilling the stringent aviation requirements. By doing so, it is our best intention that the discoveries and methodologies will as well benefit the popularization of fuel cells in other transport sectors (e.g., in road vehicles), in general to contribute to the hydrogen era. 

Robust Design

robust designAiming for increased reliability and lifetime of fuel cell systems and following the top-down route, we conduct research in the four areas component design, process integration, online diagnostics and error handling. Principles widely applied include identify and isolate, component and system redundancy, FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis), FTA (Fault Tree Analysis), etc. We also see the potentials of analytics in other fields, e.g., on big data, and will implement them for our goals.

Multi-physics Modeling and Analysis

modeling analysisElaborate modeling and analysis are keys for thorough interpretations. Our research interests are mainly on thermal fluid management, degradation mechanisms, and failure causes of fuel cell systems. Hereon, sophisticated models crossing disciplines such as thermo-dynamics, fluid-dynamics, and electrochemistry are powerful tools we create and depend on. On the other hand, our industrial experiences (from collaborations with, e.g., Ballard Power Systems Europe A/S) tell us that model simplicity is as essential and powerful as sophistication in disclosing the root causes. Besides, the root causes are often outside the object being investigated and scaling level. Therefore, keeping open-mind and ready to think out of the box is of vital importance. With the mindset, the group is seeking academic height on e.g., multiphase CFD modeling as well as assisting industrial partners in improving their products.

Experimental Validation

experimental validationExperimental verification is the basis of the above knowledge-based modeling, analysis and interpretation. Backed by InES, the group also applies electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and nonlinear frequency response analysis to understand the effects of steady and dynamic operations on fuel cells. Besides, novel thermal fluid management concepts will be tested out as well. Species and phase changes during reactions and their influences are being investigated as well on scaling levels and time spans.

  last changed 17.06.2019
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