The research centre constituted as an independent university institution offers its R&D capacities, know-how and skills in the field of fuel cells. The enthusiastic and well coordinated young team is looking for an established private company, eventually a research institution, and pool the capacities to contribute to challenging projects within a project consortium.
Hydrogen is widely regarded as key element when it comes to society powered by CO2-free energy. However, its usage is coupled with a large number of techno-economic challenges. To address them, the research group concentrates on the improvement of state-of-the-art materials and designs. The basic research is highly connected to in-situ applications. Developed materials are investigated from the point of view of microstructure and bulk properties. After that, the material is examined in single cell test stand to determine the power generation improvement. Interesting materials are then used in a fuel cell stack.
The research team synthesized modified polymer membrane with improved ionic conductivity applicable in hydrogen fuel cell. In the field of methanol fuel cells, the team developed composite PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) membrane with sulfosuccunic acid and tetraethylorthosilicate loading to suppress methanol cross-over and increase the ionic conductivity. The catalyst for fuel cells is investigated by the team. The novel method for catalyst preparation by sparks was evaluated. The team has also prepared materials with high efficiency of NOx removal. Gas diffusion layers (GDLs) were investigated by the team to improve the gas permeability by local removal of PTFE (Teflon). A single cell with modified GDLs demonstrated lowered flooding without affected power generation. The team also developed testing protocols for accelerated stress tests and methodology for stacks power generation diagnostics. The team designed a three cell high temperature hydrogen fuel cell for telecommunication purposes. Nowadays, the cell stack with generated power of approx. 1 kW is tested. First version of control software was created and evaluated. The team introduced theoretical description of fuel cell based on non-equilibrium thermodynamics (endoreversible, finite-time, exergy approach) to determine the best conditions for highly efficient power generation.
The results of the research conducted by the team will be applied in a stationary fuel cell for electro vehicle recharge point. The fuel cell will serve as a backup source for vanadium redox flow battery connected to solar cells. The team will implement the fuel cell to the above mentioned system and ensure a continuous operation of the device.
Research cooperation agreement as a type of partnership is perceived to be the right way of starting a long-term collaboration with a well-established private company (eventually a research institution) interested in creation of a project consortium.