Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association Publishes Gasket Report for PEM Fuel Cell Stacks

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Technical Paper Issues Guidance to Design Community Through Standardized Testing of Materials

Gasket performance is integral to the successful long-term operation of a fuel cell stack. With this in mind, the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) Gasket Focus Group has published a report addressing industry concerns regarding gasket performance and testing standardization.

The report comes as a culmination of a two-year effort, achieved by identifying, selecting and using test protocols to evaluate various gasket materials and measure property change and material losses over a 2,000 hour time period.

"We hope that this report will help the industry by suggesting suitable means of evaluating gaskets and helping to facilitate gasket choices for improved performance of future fuel cell stacks," said Robert Wichert, Technical Director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association.

Standardization of gasket testing methods should provide a means to evaluate new materials and compare them with materials that have already been benchmarked using the same standard methods. Material selection concerns include out-gassing, degradation and extraction of the gasket's material components, which may contribute to contaminant migration into the active areas of the fuel cell stack. Another key concern is the potential for internal and/or external leakage of fuel cell reactant gases when gasket materials lose their compression-set capabilities and thus lose their "sealing contact" with the adjoining substrates.

After significant deliberation, the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association Gasket Focus Group determined that existing ASTM Methods could be used to evaluate material physical properties of gasket material candidates. As an "evaluation exercise" of the test methods, the group selected and tested candidate materials with physical and material properties believed important for sealing the interface of the Membrane Electrode Assembly and individual cells of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell stack.

The full report can be found online here.

About the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association
The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) is the world’s premier advocacy organization dedicated to the commercialization of fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies. FCHEA and its membership are at the forefront of efforts to transform the energy network, fundamentally altering the way energy is generated and used. Fuel cells and hydrogen technologies are being commercially deployed today to solve critical problems in our energy infrastructure and deliver clean, reliable power to leading edge corporate, academic and public sector users. FCHEA’s membership represents the full spectrum of the supply chain from universities, government laboratories and agencies, trade associations, fuel cell materials, components and systems manufacturers, hydrogen producers and fuel distributors, utilities and other end users.

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