The Company

ElectroChem has been in fuel cell technology development since 1967, and in product manufacturing and sale for over 25 years. It offers a comprehensive line of fuel cell testing equipment based on the long experience in understanding the needs of a researcher. Its two product lines of testing equipment provide the researcher the flexibility of a completely automated, Power Station, products, and LabView supported MTS products to customize according to the research needs.

 

Introduction

 

Schematic of fuel cell operation system

 

Why Choose ElectroChem’s Test Equipment?

ElectroChem has been the first company to provide completely computer integrated, automatically controlled equipment to the fuel cell industry. The idea was to provide developers more opportunity to accelerate their development rather than spending time to build testing equipment. Some of our early customers have been General Motors, SGL Carbon, Eskom, etc.

The company has taken extra effort to provide the researcher with best components in its system to provide precision, flexibility, convenience, and safety. ElectroChem’s Power Station products are controlled by its unique software, where advanced features in safety are incorporated both in hardware, and software for unattended operation. Power Station-Ultima, is a unique offering in the industry by providing customers flexibility of testing up to five cells simultaneously, and independently with one control system. For many developers, it has been a cost-effective, solution for doing long duration testing of new materials, components.

In addition to Power Station line of equipments , ElectroChem also offers products based on LabView software.

Key Qualities of ElectroChem Test Equipment
Introduction2

Most of the time, a fuel cell is operated by supplying surplus of reactants to the fuel cell to prevent “reactant starvation” and “product water flooding”. The gaseous reactants are usually supplied to fuel cells by using mass flow controllers. The precision and accuracy in mass flow controllers reduces the waste of reactants.
ElectroChem incorporates highly tested and reliable flow controllers in its systems

Temperature management is critical in fuel cell operation. The temperature control involves fuel cell, connection tubing, a humidifier system, and cooling system.
ElectroChem’s integrated temperature control module controls up to seven temperature controllers to support these needs during fuel cell operation.

Fuel cell can be operated at atmospheric pressure, elevated pressure, and differential pressure. The fuel cell pressure is usually controlled by back pressure regulators.
ElectroChem integrates back pressure regulator and a pressure transducer in its fuel cell test equipment. The researcher can use a moisture trap as a phase separator before the back pressure regulator to separate product water and stabilize the gas flow rate.

Gas humidifier is commonly used to treat the dry reactant gas before entering the fuel cell to improve the cell performance.
ElectroChem has developed gas humidifier based on dew point temperature. It is managed by the pressure of the vessel, and temperature allowing up to 20,000 SCCM of dry gas to produce 100% relative humidity.

Because the output of a fuel cell changes during operation, control software is required to balance between the power output and the supply of reactant gas.
Based on our experiences in fuel cell operation, ElectroChem has developed intuitive fuel cell software. ElectroChem’s PowerStation software is an equivalent to the GUI of Windows, as the parameters are readily identified; but there is still full flexibility of use for the researcher. We implemented a dynamic control mechanism which offers a stoichiometry flow couple with a minimum constant flow. The combination of the stoichiometry and constant flow rate offers the best control mechanism for fuel cell operation.

 

Utmost consideration for the researcher – SAFETYIntroduction3

  • ElectroChem has designed the fuel cell test system with safety in mind, and considered the possible conditions when the gas tank is running empty and/or when the cell is malfunctioning.
  • We developed the PowerStation combining hardware and software together to monitor the pressure at the entrance of pipe lines and the input of safety set point for cell temperature and cell voltage to prevent over-heated temperature or dropping off cell voltage.
  • At the detection of low gas tank pressure or cell malfunction, automatic safety shutdown will apply with a purging of inner gas through the fuel cell.
  • We specifically designed and build the purging system by adding a set of solenoid and check valves.
  • In addition, the flow rate of the purging gas is set by the control software giving the proper purging flow rate to the cell.

 

In practical fuel cell applications, the oxidant comprises of oxygen which may be pure oxygen or diluted oxygen such as air. The fuel comprises of hydrogen which maybe pure hydrogen or a diluted hydrogen such as reformate, methanol or ethanol may be supplied to the anode. In some special applications, oxygen injection to anode is applied to remove contamination such as CO from anode catalyst.

ElectroChem’s fuel cell test equipment including CompuCell, PS-DR Dual Range, PS-DM Direct Methanol, and PS-Ultima, has been designed specifically to support all these needs for the control of gaseous hydrogen, oxygen/air and reformate to liquid methanol to fuel cells.

 

The Solutions that fit YOU

ElectroChem offers its software solution with the Compucell and Ultima test systems. Developed to be a user friendly graphical interface software the PowerStation software, is software that allows researchers to delve right into their work – knowing that the software is there to assist them. Users can be assured of safety when using our PowerStation software.

ElectroChem also offers the user accessible LabView Software, available with the MTSA-450-NL Test System; to control and monitor all the key parameters including stoichiometry, temperature, pressure and humidity. LabView software is highly customizable and allows the researcher to program and ‘tweak’ it to his or her needs. It does take more commitment to set up and run that the PowerStation Software – but it is a solution that provides flexibility to customers who are already familiar with the LabView platform.