Bosch Engineering has recently completed a long-awaited report on long-term durability experiments on balance-of-plant (BoP) components in fuel-cell systems.
BoP components are responsible for most failures in fuel-cell systems, and are therefore a very important object of study in the Giantleap project. Early in the project, it was noticed how little data was available for such components in the open literature, as opposed to the much better documented fuel-cell stacks.
Realising the need of this data for both Giantleap and the research community, Bosch Engineering performed an extensive and time-consuming experimental campaign closely focused on compressors and humidifiers, the most critical components in a FC system beside the stacks themselves, and the most prone to failure.
The report, authored by Peter Eckert, concluded that compressors show marginal degradation over time, but are subject to sudden and catastrophic failures; oil leaks from compressors are a particular concern, as they can poison the fuel cells. The performance of humidifiers, instead, degrades more gradually.