Giantleap partner FESB has recently completed a public report on their progress towards the development of techniques to recover fuel-cell degradation that was previously thought to be irreversible. This may have profound impact on the lifetime of fuel cells and their commercialisation.
The report, authored by Dr. Ivan Pivac and prof. Frano Barbir, identified a number of shut-down procedures and their impact on cell voltage. Best results were obtained with short resting (“soak”) times, shunting resistor, no nitrogen purge and no fast cooling.
While the exact fundamentals of the phenomenon, initially observed in Giantleap’s forerunner project Sapphire, are still unclear, it is speculated it may be related to water content in the cell, or presence of oxygen in the catalyst layer.