Fuel cell vehicles: Reducing costs means having to use monitoring systems: Page 3 of 4

July 07, 2016 //By Markus Schuster, Smart Testsolutions GmbH
Fuel cell vehicles: Reducing costs means having to use monitoring systems
In discussions about electric mobility the main focus is currently on battery-powered electric cars. Although fuel cell vehicles running on hydrogen actually offer advantages in terms of range and energy supply, the technology involved is still far too expensive at present. The use of less expen-sive materials could help, however extensive testing and continuous monitoring of the fuel cells would then be necessary.
more exacting if a CVM system is to be used for mobile applications. The effort involved is however well worthwhile, as the installation of a CVM system in trial vehicles makes it possible to gather system findings under realistic conditions and to devise strategies for optimum operation. Another example: If an insufficient supply of fuel is detected in the system, operation could quickly be switched to electrolysis using the electrical energy available in the battery. In this case water is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen; the heat generated in the process melts any ice in the pipe, thus eliminating the cause of the hydrogen shortage and allowing the normal operating state to be resumed. Such an operating strategy would ensure reliable operation even in winter.

If operating strategies are linked to individual cell voltages, this logically means having to equip mass-produced vehicles with an appropriate monitoring system. Many car manufacturers are indeed thinking along these lines.

Despite its compact design, an MCM IntelliProbe
measurement module has an electric voltage of up
to 1,400 volts. Photo: SMART TESTSOLUTIONS


One of the basic prerequisites for integrating CVM systems into vehicles is an extremely compact design as the space available under the bonnet is generally at a premium. It is also advisable to accommodate the monitoring unit as closely as possible to the fuel cell stack to minimise measurement signal interference from external sources. The electronics can however only be installed at or on a fuel cell stack if the CVM system is capable of operating reliably in an extended temperature range up to 95°C. This is due to the fact that, for safety reasons, the fuel cell stacks are encapsulated in specially ventilated enclosures, which leads to elevated operating temperatures inside the stack housings. The system also has to be extremely robust and operate faultlessly even when subjected to vibration.

MCM IntelliProbe - the perfect solution for stationary and

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