Environmental Sensor Array

Case ID: 01054

Description

Environmental Sensor Array

Designed to expand the capabilities of fuel cells

Ref. UH-1045

 

Background

Integrating fuel cell technology into transportation has the potential to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, reduce global warming emissions and improve air quality for the majority of urban citizens. However, air quality presents a challenge to reliable fuel cell integration since fuel cells use oxygen from the air. Air contaminants degrade performance of the fuel cells and limit the usability of this technology in harsher environmental conditions.

 

Technology Overview

Researchers at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) within the University of Hawaii have invented an Environmental Sensor Array (ESA) system which is a device that can be integrated into any stationary or mobile fuel cell platform to effectively turn that fuel cell into a "smart" fuel cell capable of sensing and reacting to changing environmental conditions which could be detrimental to fuel cell performance and longevity. The ESA extends the capability of fuel cells to operate reliably in harsh environmental conditions and improves longevity in normal operating conditions to preserve integrity and extend the lifetime of the fuel cell. The system consists of an array of electrochemical and environmental (temperature, pressure, relative humidity) sensors that monitor real‐time environmental conditions and air contaminant concentration in: i) the environment from which the fuel cell air supply is drawn, and ii) the entrance to the cathode side of the fuel cell (post‐air filter). The data can be displayed to the driver and fed into preprogrammed protocols which are capable of putting the fuel cell in a protective shutdown mode if atmospheric conditions threaten the health of the fuel cell. The total contaminant exposure is integrated to give a continuous estimate of remaining lifetime of the onboard air filter.

 

Learn more from the inventors here.

 

Benefits

The Environmental Sensor Array has the capability of extending the life and capabilities of fuel cell technology. This will enable faster, superior integration into transportation.

 

Applications

The ESA is currently in use on Fuel Cell‑Electric Buses (FCEB) in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Learn more about the project here.

 

Patents

●       US Patent Application No. 15/269,390 ENVIRONMENTAL SENSOR ARRAY FOR FUEL CELL AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS

 

UH is seeking:

●       Development partner

●       Commercial partner

●       Licensing

●       University spin out

 

IP Status

●       Published US patent application

 

Patent Information:
Inventors
Scott Higgins
James (Mitch) Ewan

For information, contact:
Ann Park
Technology Licensing Associate
University of Hawaii
(808) 956-9929
apark@hawaii.edu
Keywords


Categories
Engineering
Energy
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