Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle driven for 16 hours/day for 107 days in road test in Germany
New chemical route to breaking down used tires at room temperature

JRC proposing new harmonized test protocols for PEM fuel cells in hydrogen vehicles

The European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) is proposing a test methodology for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells, including a set of representative operating conditions. The resulting harmonized test protocols allow the evaluation of the performance and durability of PEM fuel cells by focusing on the membrane-electrode assemblies (MEA), which constitute the heart of a fuel cell.

A lack of standards for testing PEM fuel cells has hampered objective comparative assessment of their performance and durability under operating conditions and hence of their technological progress, JRC said.

Jrc-fuel-cell-schematic
Fuel cell test input/output schematic.

Fuel cells generate electricity by combining hydrogen fuel and an oxidant (oxygen or air) electrochemically in a more energy-efficient and environment-friendly way than modern combustion-based power technologies. However, technological progress to enhance performance and durability and reduce costs is still required.

Among all fuel cell types the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells are the most promising for powering vehicles due to their high energy density, low operating temperature and high efficiency.

The protocols, described in a recent JRC report, were established through a sustained cooperation with industry and research organizations participating in R&I projects for automotive applications, funded by the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU). The latter is an industry-led public private partnership (PPP) supporting the technological development of fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe.

The report specifies reference operating conditions and boundaries within which a cell is expected to operate. The harmonized test methodology enables investigating the influence of individual operating parameters on MEA performance, including when subjected to more challenging boundary conditions also called “stressor conditions”. The latter cover load cycling, mechanical effects, fuel and air contaminants (impurities) and environmental conditions.

The use of the protocols will facilitate a factual assessment of the technology status achieved by the relevant FCH-JU funded projects, thereby allowing improved target-setting, monitoring of progress, and evaluating the return-on-investment of public funding of R&I activities on automotive fuel cells.

The US Department of Energy (DoE) Fuel Cell Technology Office and Asian car component manufacturers have expressed interest for the protocols.

Comments

HarveyD

It seems that the Toyota Mirai has already passed (with great success) equivalent (road) tests in Germany?

Mike999

Hey!
This is supposed to be Green Car Congress.
Not, Green BULL Congress.

Why are you still pushing the hydrogen bull???
Are you getting PAID to continue to flog this horse manure?

HarveyD

Autonomous Drive Vehicles (ADV), lower cost REs and FCEVs are not B... but excellent progressive future green technologies.

More efficient water splitting, SS H2 storage units and more efficient lower cost FCs will make REs and FCEVs expand and prosper in the next 10 years.

BEVs will also prosper within their inherent limited range and battery pack size and cost.

Our excellent HEVs will have to be traded in, as public ultra quick chargers and H2 stations become available in large enough numbers, sometime in the next decade?

Davemart

There is an interesting comment here in an article about the roll out in Norway and Sweden:

'Ahead of the launch the Toyota Mirai has been extensively tested on Norwegian roads and the car has passed all tests with flying colours. The Toyota Mirai has proven to successfully cope with the typical winter cold in Norway. “The cabin warms up very fast thanks to the heat produced as a by-product by the fuel cells, with no impact on the range of the car”, adds Mr Olsen.'

https://fuelcellsworks.com/news/not-afraid-of-the-cold-toyota-fuel-cell-mirai-launches-in-sweden-and-norway-this-summer/

Battery cars lose a lot of range in cold weather, which in their case is often important.

ICE cars do too, although for range it is rather less critical usually.

Inefficient combustion in the cold means that they are even worse for air quality than usual though, which is of course a problem FCEVs don't have.

They are also less limited by range in the cold than BEVS, as as the article points out they don't need to waste more energy heating.

What I don't know is if PEM fuel cells lose less efficiency in the cold than ICE anyway, which seems quite possible, as they are not combusting anything and operate at a much lower temperature than ICE.

I will have a look around about it, but if anyone else has more information on the subject it would be appreciated.

Davemart

It appears that the speculation in my post above has some substance:

'Toyota explained unlike pure battery electric vehicles that can see reductions in driving range in extreme temperatures, fuel cell vehicles’ performance stands up to freezing temperatures.

“I continue to get range of about 300 miles despite the cold and blasting the heater,” added Schiller. “The vehicle performed flawlessly.”'

http://www.hybridcars.com/toyotas-fuel-cell-vehicles-can-handle-the-cold/

Of course keeping the temperature up has an energy cost, but is seems the penalty is a lot less than in an ICE, let alone a BEV.

HarveyD

Tks Davemart for added info on Toyota's Mirai FCEV and to point out FCEVs' advantages in bad cold weather.

In our area, it is not unusual to be delayed for hours on cold windy snowy days due to associated traffic jams. Our milder winters and mandated winter tires (01 Dec to 31 March) have somewhat reduced the total effect but it is still there.

Keeping the cabin and passengers warm for hours on very cold windy snowy days, often uses more energy than to move the vehicle and batteries do run out of electrons quickly enough. BEVs with 120+ kWh battery pack become a must.

sd

Now if Obama would only approve the proposed solar pipeline, we would have an infinite supply of low cost hydrogen.

HarveyD

Solar pipelines already exist:

Solar panels + water splitting + SS H2 storage + FCs = transportable clean electricity, and/

Solar panels + water splitting + SS H2 storage + FCEVs = clean ground transportation.

Excess H2 can be mixed with NG and distributed in regular NG networks = cleaner blue gaz.

william g irwin

I am starting to see a sensible set of long term paths forward for H2. The problems are multi fold:
* H2 is difficult to seal into containers and pipes - the molecules are so small they squeaze through most materials (especially at increased pressures). Our NG pipeline infrastructure seems at first like a natural solution except that it is very old and sections of pipeline are failing - There is still a lot of old fabric wound wood pipe underground in most cities. That is a dangerous situation that is getting worse, and cities are doing 'whack a mole' repairs to avoid explosions etc. That means lots of money and localized infrastructure upgrades before the NG gets even leakier w/H2 infusion!
* Tanker distribution seems a bit impractical yet, and the energy required to haul and transfer volumes of H2 under high pressure seems problematic, not to mention that it requires additional (clean?) energy.
* The better solution seems to be localized supply where solar and H2O supply is available. Then the problem becomes storage - slow and irregular manufacture vs fast and sporadic vehicle charging. I see that as primarily a storage problem. This lends itself to the current 'gas' station infrastructure. If the H2 manufacture process becomes standardized, efficient, and modular, then distribution is less of an issue, and storage becomes the potential solution.

electric-car-insider.com

Harvey, how long (in km) are these commutes where people are "stuck in traffic for hours"? How often do they occur?

sd

I am sorry because I wish it was not so but I do not see any easy path for an H2 source other than reforming natural gas. OK, there are a few places on earth where there is an excess of hydro power, Iceland and maybe Northeast Canada but it is still better to do something else with the power such as aluminum (aluminium?) production. Otherwise just put the power in the grid and burn less coal, etc. Maybe someday we will have an excess of nuclear power -- fission or fusion and we can have high temperature disassociation of water to generate H2. Even then, H2 is not an easy substance to transport or store. I just do not get the enthusiasm for H2 fuel cells.

HarveyD

@ e-c-i.c:

Many people have to commute by car up to 50+ Km to go to work on a daily basis. Houses and municipal taxes are cheaper in suburbs, specially those further away and not deserved by suburban trains.

We used to have an average of one dozen bad snow storms/year blocking normal traffic flow for hours.

As I mentioned before, milder winters (due to noticeable climate changes and the 2 billion ICEVs) + compulsory winter tyres for everybody, are progressively reducing extreme weather and snow storms effect (by 25% to 30%?) but it still happens too often.

HarveyD

@sd:

Splitting water with more efficient electrolizers and storing H2, produce with excess electricity from REs, into lower pressure SS tanks will soon make H2 more available at a much lower price.

A few (XX) thousand mass produced H2 stations will eventually contribute to much lower cost/price H2.

O2 will be a secondary by-product with a fair-low value?

Excess H2 can be stored or dumped in NG pipelines.

electric-car-insider.com

Ok, Harvey. Just to be clear you are suggesting 120kWh battery, 5 times bigger than a current typical EV battery, to make a 31 mile commute because 12 times a year those drivers - who can preheat cabin and battery before leaving - might need it to complete their commute?

Forgive my skepticism. The math and physics do not support your assertion. Most importantly, the economics do not support your assertion.

HarveyD

How much are frozen feet and passengers worth?

This is not a question of maths or $$ but one of survival (with all your limbs) 12 times a year.

That is why the 8,500+ EVs in our area are not used in cold winter days/months.

electric-car-insider.com

Harvey, the idea that a solution to cold feet requires a 5x battery simply has no basis in fact.

Even if a company decided to provide cabin climate control from only battery power, it wouldn't take 5x capacity. Bjorn Nyland, a Tesla owner in Norway, reports 20% range reduction in winter.

The idea that it would be preferable to use 5x battery, instead of very occasional use of the ICE of a PHEV, simply ignores the engineering and economic realities.

As I've said several times before, liquid fuel based heaters - which can use alcohol, biofuel, natural gas or white gas - would be a far more practical alternative to an oversize battery. The plentiful heat these units generate could keep both passengers and battery warm even in the most extreme cold. They are used in commercial tractor-trailers now.

Replacement cost of a 24kWh Nissan Leaf battery is $6,500. The idea that the needed solution is five times that battery to solve a cabin heat problem for a 30 mile commute invites more than skepticism.

HarveyD

Our current excellent HEVs have average range of 700 to 900 Km depending on temperature and road conditions and offer all the heat required to deal with the usual long traffic jams associated with major snow storms, high winds and cold weather.

Many of those major traffic jams are created by drivers without appropriate driving skills and good winter tires, windshield wipers etc.

Affordable BEVs with equivalent range are not here yet and probably will not be available before 2030 or so.
When they do, we will buy 3 each, if quick charge stations (10 minutes or less) are available.

Between 2020 and 2030 we may have three choices:

1. Go back with ICEVs???
2. Keep running our HEVs for another 14 years or so.
3. Use FCEVs, if enough H2 stations are available?

electric-car-insider.com

Harvey, what is the purpose of studiously avoiding mentioning PHEVs? All electric in normal conditions and a normal driving day, ICE the few times a year that distance or weather dictate reverting to liquid fuels?

If liquid fuel consumption could be driven down to 10% of current levels, as the 53 mile AER Volt does, we could use biofuels or majority biofuel blends. CO2, particulates and NOx all being reduced in proportion.

Why not address the solution that automakers actually have on the 5-10 year road map?

HarveyD

PHEVs are a very good solution for people with access home charging facilities. If not, it it just another polluting ICEV?

That is the main reason I have been avoiding them. I may case, a PHEV would consume as much if not more than our excellent Toyota HEVs. Secondly, you have more joices with HEVs, specially Toyotas.

electric-car-insider.com

When a PHEV does not have remaining battery power, it acts very much like an HEV - regenerative braking, launch from stop. There is no downside to having a bigger battery than is in the Prius other than a slightly higher upfront cost, which is more than offset by gasoline savings. That economic scenario gets better every year as battery prices fall. HEV sales are trending down, PHEV sales are trending up. It's really no wonder why.

Overnight charging is very easily solved, even for street parkers. If a city can provide street lights and parking meters, they can figure out charging. New wireless solutions even eliminate cord clutter.

Preferring HEVs over PHEVs is a very curious position for someone who wants to eliminate fossil fuel use.

HarveyD

Like 50+% of car users, we have no access to overnight slow charging facilities and too few quick charge public stations. Street parkers do no have access to low charging yet! It will be years before they do.

The above is the main reason why we are still driving (40 to 55 mpg) HEVs.

By 2020 or so, we hope that conditions will exist for the use of extended range, all weather, FCEVs.

Alternatively, it could be affordable (under $55K), all weather, extended range BEVs with 140+ kWh light weight battery pack?

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