C-ALPS set for hydrogen fuel cell development

Coventry University is targeting hydrogen fuel cell opportunities following a £2m investment into new facilities within the Centre for Advanced Low-Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS).

Test cells being upgraded and equipped for hydrogen fuel cell and e-drive testing (Image: C-ALPS)

The C-ALPS facility has approved work that will create a dedicated 100m2 Hydrogen Fuel Cell lab and upgrade its powertrain cells.

The new facilities will feature a fully equipped laboratory alongside the upgraded test cells for fuel cell and electrolyser, stack and cell-level testing and diagnostic/post-mortem work. It will also include areas for instrumenting and commissioning electric drive and fuel cell systems, plus equipment for environmental testing of powertrain components and systems from -40° to +120°.

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This investment is expected to supplement C-ALPS’ bespoke fuel cell test stands, which have been developed in-house and are said to feature advanced electrochemical diagnostics for detailed characterisation of application-scale fuel cells and stacks.

Construction and fit-out will be completed by late August 2021, after which researchers will be able to undertake fundamental and collaborative applied research with industry.

“Sustainable electric propulsion and mobile energy storage solutions are essential in decarbonising the transport sector and improving air quality. Hydrogen, as a fuel, will almost certainly play a significant role in this transition,” said Simon Shepherd, director of C-ALPS.

“Our latest investments strengthen our existing hydrogen energy research capabilities and give us the facility to support partners in both fuel cell and hydrogen generation R&D and fuel cell application projects.”

He continued: “There is massive interest in this area of electrification and adoption of these technologies is growing extremely fast in Europe and Asia, mainly from stakeholders involved in heavy-duty commercial vehicles, bus and coach, marine, rail transport and aerospace applications.”

C-ALPS has already secured a number of major research projects and is said to be making progress towards self-sensing/healing battery cells, the development of sensing for electric drive systems, plus advanced on-board diagnostics for battery, fuel cell and hybrid power systems.