Michell Instruments Ltd. - PRODUCT NEWS



A successful evaluation trial has led a major fuel cell development company to purchase four high-performance Optidew Vision optical dewpointmeters from Cambridge based Michell Instruments Ltd.

The instruments are used in a research programme aimed at extending the life of fuel cells used in motor vehicles and for stationary power.

The development company is researching into ways to increase the performance and operational life of fuel cells used for vehicular and stationary power applications - therefore increasing the commercial viability of the cells.

Michell's Optidew vision hygrometers are used in a process to profile the performance of the humidification system of different fuel cell test stands, which are used to test membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) under different operating conditions. The instruments measure precisely the humidity and temperature that the MEAs are exposed to while being profiled.

The long-term life of a fuel cell is mostly limited by the MEA. The research tests new construction methods and materials for MEAs, evaluating prototypes across a broad range of humidity and temperature conditions. Once perfected, the best combinations are then developed into larger MEAs for production.

Previously a relative humidity probe has been used to measure dew point but this device was prone to saturation during trials, when humidity reached 80 per cent. This resulted in prolonged delays in the trials while the probe was left to dry out. The device was also only accurate to +/- 3 per cent relative humidity (RH).

The Optidew Vision uses Michell's cooled mirror dew-point technology, which improves measurement accuracy during trials of +/- 0.2ºC.

The instrument is also unaffected by saturation and therefore does not delay the trial schedule. Each instrument is a high temperature measurement sensor capable of measuring between 50ºC and 90ºC.

Two Optidew Visions are used to calibrate a stand's humidification system, one for the anode side and one for the cathode side. The four portable instruments enable the company to check two stands simultaneously.

"After carrying out a trial of the Optidew Vision we quickly realised the significant improvements that could be achieved over our previous methods of measuring temperature and humidity," said a spokes person from the fuel cell development company.

"These instruments give us complete confidence in the accuracy of measurement that is taken, which reflects in the validity of the experiments we are doing".

Tim Landucci
Michell Instruments Limited
48 Lancaster Way Business Park,
Ely, Cambridgeshire CB6 3NW. UK
Tel: +44(0) 1353 658031 Fax: +44(0) 1353 658199
website: www.michell-instruments.co.uk

August 2005

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