A key factor for the performance and long-term stability of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells is the water management in the fuel cell. In this regard, hollow fiber membrane-based cathode air humidification is currently the accepted state of the art in commercial fuel cell systems. In the short and medium term, the industrialization of fuel cells in Europe will mainly take place in mobile applications, with a focus on use in transportation and long range applications such as heavy duty vehicles. Examples of such "heavy duty vehicles" (HDV) include trucks, public transport such as buses and trains, maritime and all aviation applications. This is associated with significantly increased demands on the service life and reliability of the system and thus also on the humidifier. For these applications, long ranges and long service lives are required. The system is designed for an optimum operating point, where the focus is clearly on economy and the overall system must therefore be highly efficient. The (cathode) humidifier plays a central role in this.
Within the scope of the project, novel fluorine-free flat membranes in particular are to be developed and validated at the IGB. The fluorine-free polymers, which are new in the field of fuel cell humidification, and the humidification process are to be optimized in the further course of the project and tested for long-term durability.