Canadian university develops a cheaper fuel cell

University of Waterloo develops hydrogen fuel cell that lasts 10x longer

Published: May 13, 2019, 5:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 2:54 PM

2018 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle

The University of Waterloo has developed a hydrogen fuel-cell so cheaply, it says it will rival the longevity and the cost of production of internal combustion engines.

UW researchers claim to have developed a fuel-cell that lasts 10-times longer than those currently in use by Honda, Hyundai and Toyota. In mass production, it could end up being one of the most economical production automotive powertrains.

Researchers were initially beset with problems in the fluctuation of electricity flow but have overcome the obstacles to deliver a constant flow, allowing them to make the cells far simpler and, as a result, cheaper.

“With our design approach, the cost could be comparable or even cheaper than gasoline engines,” says Xianguo Li, director of the fuel cell and green energy lab at the Canadian university. “The future is very bright. This is clean energy that could boom.”

Hongtao Zhang, a post-doctoral fellow, was the lead researcher on the paper, which will be published in Applied Energy, titled Enhancing fuel cell durability for fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicles through strategic power management — the research initially concentrated on hybrids, which are currently using gasoline engines to extend their driving ranges. Waterloo mathematics professor Xinzhi Liu and Jinyue Yan, an energy expert and professor in Sweden, also collaborated with Li and Zhang.

The Fuel Cell and Green Energy Laboratory at University of Waterloo focuses on the understanding of fundamental and applied green energy conversion technologies using an analytical modeling, numerical simulation, and experimental observation.