Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) are an important part of strategic initiatives in many countries to transition into a fully emission-free vehicle fleet. Fuel cells generate power from hydrogen fuel, which needs to meet certain purity requirements to protect the fuel cell’s critical components, in particular the catalyst and the proton exchange membrane (PEM).
International purity standards (e.g., SAE J2719) have been developed that set strict limits on a variety of contaminants found in hydrogen. For some of the most harmful compounds, concentration limits in the low-ppb range are required, which are hard to achieve with traditional analytical equipment. Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) combines several key advantages that make it ideally suited for this application: high sensitivity and selectivity to the molecules of interest, ease-of-use both for laboratory and field deployment, no calibration requirement, as well as absolute accuracy and traceability. ASTM International also established a Standard Test Method (D7941) for using CRDS in this application, helping labs around the world to obtain reproducible results. Tiger Optics offers CRDS analyzers for a number of critical hydrogen contaminants, namely H2O, CO, CO2, CH4, O2, NH3, and CH2O. Featuring detection limits as low as 1 ppb (depending on the analyte), Tiger’s CRDS systems are used by test labs and standards developers for reliable and fast purity analysis as part of their hydrogen qualification equipment. We discuss the latest developments in CRDS-based hydrogen purity analyzers and most recent experimental results, as well as the potential of CRDS to expand its role in hydrogen quality testing in laboratories, distribution networks and fueling stations.
Dr. Florian Adler is a Lead Scientist at Tiger Optics and has been with the company since 2012. His main responsibilities are the development of new technologies and new products to serve existing and emerging markets. Dr. Adler also serves as technical lead for Tiger’s portfolio of trace analyzers for fuel cell hydrogen and he is a member of the ASTM committee on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells.