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The heart of every fuel cell is the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which reacts sensitively to so-called leaching products. Degradation products or "impure" plastics can occupy active catalyst sites or damage the conductive membrane. The degradation of the fuel cell can be reversible or irreversible - depending on the material analyzed. Regarding the migration of components from the material and the ageing behavior of the plastic materials used requirement criteria must be defined.

In this research project, decision criteria for property profiles of thermoplastics are to be defined. These are primarily used on the anode in the PEM fuel cell system (e.g. housing, covers, brackets, pumps, seals and pipes) and are therefore in contact with the media. These property profiles are defined on the basis of the following key figures, which areto be developed:

  • Evaluation of thermal and media resistance
  • Criteria for purity and exclusion of impurities
  • Exclusion criteria for certain polymers, aggregates, additives or manufacturing methods

In combination with the specific requirements of a fuel cell, these material properties can lead to its failure or a reduced service life. In addition, ageing properties of the materials in the anode circuit (influenced by hydrogen, temperature, and humidity) are determined and an in-situ qualification method for use on the anode side of the system is developed and established, which allows new materials to be qualified quickly and cost-effectively. The decision criteria developed can be used to implement a "blacklist" of substances to be excluded - similar to that used in food technology. All materials used should be "off-the-shelf materials" to replace the expensive, customized thermoplastic compounds, steels, etc. for the fuel cell and thus reduce the costs of the system. The results achieved by the research project are generally applicable to the PEM fuel cell and the various operating states in the anode system and therefore make a significant contribution to sustainable development. Tests for material qualification on the anode in particular are hardly to be found in the current state of the art, but must be developed for the successful establishment of fuel cell vehicles on the market.

The evaluation of plastic components in PEM fuel cell applications is important, 
up-to-date and highly relevant, especially in respect of:

  • Resistance
  • Purity
  • Exclusion of polymers, additives or manufacturing methods to be identified

This was confirmed by  AiF (AiF German Federation of Industrial Research Associations) experts at the end of 2021 with a score of 8 to 9 out of 10 possible points. Nevertheless, the current points limit for direct funding of ≥ 36 points was unfortunately not exceeded in the resubmission.
The ZBT (The hydrogen and fuel cell center) and the SKZ would like to work exclusively with you on the tasks described in an SKZ enabler project. You will receive the results directly and exclusively for your own use.

If you would like to take part in this exciting research project, please send a short e-mail to Your request is non-binding. I will be happy to advise you personally on the planned process and further details. Please also let me know to what extent you would like to contribute to the project cost.
Did you know?!
You can claim research services for tax purposes under the Research Allowance Act!
On the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance you can find out which legal framework conditions apply.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
We look forward to work with you on this topic
and to take this alternative path in contract research. 

Thank you in advance for your interest and see you soon in the EVOPLAST project.

Andreas Köppel

Dr. Andreas Köppel
Group Manager | material development

Duration: 24 month

Request more details now!

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