Fuel Cell Integrated with Vehicle Cooling and Battery - Volvo Group Trucks

Objective: To analyze the performance degradation of the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) and the Catalyst Layer (CL) for fuel cells in heavy-duty vehicles, provided by CellCentric and Volvo Group Trucks.

 

Collaborators: Pennsylvania State University in the United States, Chalmers University in Sweden, Volvo Group Trucks, and CellCentric.

 

Volvo Trucks aims to revolutionize the automotive sector by integrating fuel cell technology into trucks, reducing emissions compared to traditional diesel engines. I led a team of 4 to analyze the Fuel Cell Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) and Catalyst Layer degradation mechanism, as shown in the image below, and add recommendations to improve the overall performance and durability of the Volvo Fuel Cell stacks. This project was a collaborative effort between a team from Pennsylvania State University in the US and Chalmers University in Sweden, alongside two project managers from Volvo Group Trucks.

 

Figure 1. shows the SolidWorks model created for the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Stack of Volvo and Cellcentric.

 

For this project, I employed simulation tools like MATLAB, SolidWorks, and Simulink for dynamic system modeling. These modeling software were used to analyze the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) and Catalyst Layers (CL) degradation mechanisms. Special attention was given to platinum particle size and thermal management. By understanding how fuel cells degrade over time, and analyzing 5 different degradation mechanisms, I made suggestions to improve their Fuel Cell design for enhanced durability and efficiency.

 

Key Focus:

  • Degradation Models: Developed 5 comprehensive models highlighting mechanisms such as Ostwald Ripening.
  • Thermal Analysis: Utilized a detailed 3D fuel cell model for heat mitigation strategies.
  • Material Evaluation: Conducted a thorough analysis of construction materials, balancing performance and cost.

The project successfully delivered predictive degradation models essential for Volvo Trucks. These models enable informed design decisions, ensuring fuel cells’ long-term performance and reliability in commercial vehicles.

 

       

 

Figure 2. shows the heat study on SolidWorks (left), and the Catalyst Degradation at 0 to 10,000 cycles (right).

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