In 2006, SERC engineers delivered a custom hydrogen fuel cell test station and two proton exchange membrane fuel cells to Professor Ben Choi at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Engineers Greg Chapman and Michael Winkler spent one week integrating the test station into the university lab where it would be housed and training Professor Choi and his team of graduate student researchers in the operation and maintenance of the station. SERC provided consultation to Auburn after the installation to insure that their equipment functions well. This was the third in a series of test stations and fuel cells provided by SERC to other universities.
This installation differed from those previously provided to the University of Michigan and Kettering University in that the Auburn test station is equipped with a state-of-the-art external humidification system for the stack supply air. The external humidification system allows precise control and measurement of supply air relative humidity prior to entering the stack, eliminating the need for an internal humidification section within the fuel stack.
The Auburn team has developed a detailed mathematical model of the internal operation of fuel cells and uses the test station’s custom features to control relative humidity in order to validate and calibrate their mathematical model. Professor Choi has had a long association with the South Korean automaker, Hyundai, and at one time served as the all-time youngest member of the Hyundai board of directors. Alabama has become a major center for automobile manufacturing and has plants for both South Korean manufacturers, Hyundai, and Kia. SERC is proud to be helping Professor Choi and his research group in advancing the state-of-the-art in automotive fuel cells.