Sommer Uni – Pupils Visit the ZBT and operate the OFC

On August 3rd, 2023, we used the open fuel cell (OFC) operated in a simplistic experimental setup so spread the fascination about fuel cell technology among the next generation of scientists and engineers. As part of an outreach event called „SUNI“ (Sommer Uni), organised by the University of Duisburg-Essen, pupils aged between 15 and 18 years old were given the chance to get an insight into various disciplines of natural and engineering science. In one the sessions, the visited the ZBT laboratories, engaged in the preparation of a memebrane assembyl unit and operated the OFC.

The OFC experimental setup just consisted of the OFC itself, a purge valve, an electronic current load and a hydrostick including the combined valve and pressure regulator. In order to demonstrate the effect of an improved air supply to the open cathode additional air was fanned using a simple piece of cardbord. The effect of this additional air on the overall performance of the PEMFC can clearly be seen from the voltage current diagrams obtained.

The effects of diffusion overpotentials could significantly be decrased by small forced convection, done by waving a piece of cardboard. We were very happy to demonstrate that the OFC is highly suitable to demonstrate basic performance parameters of a PEMFC to kids.