Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology

Graz University of Technology
Assoc.Prof. Dr. Viktor Hacker
Inffeldgasse 25c
8010 Graz
+43 (0)316 873-8781
+43 (0)316 873-8782

The Laboratory for Fuel Cell Systems of Graz University of Technology works in the areas of hydrogen production and low-temperature fuel cells. 

Research on fuel cells

The  research  focuses  on  investigations  on  component degradation in order to increase the life span of low-temperature fuel cells. The research is done on purpose-built polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. Single cells, stacks, segmented cells for locally dissolved current density measurement, single cells with reference electrodes and half cells are available and used for research. In order to minimize the degradation of operational fuel cell stacks, the scientific basics for an on-line monitoring method have been developed. This method differs fundamentally from traditionally used systems (single cell voltage monitoring) with usual unfavourable operating conditions like the undersupply of gas or blockades of parts of the flow field by water. Within the material research of the laboratory, a technique for the production of carbon nanofiber electrodes has been generated, which leads to clearly higher electro-chemical corrosion resistance.

Research on hydrogen production

The  research  focuses  on  stationary  hydrogen  production and compact reforming systems for mobile fuel cell applications. For the stationary production of  high-purity hydrogen  a  new  process  has  been developed, based on the cyclic reduction and oxidation of metallic oxides, whereas material research for an increase of the cycle-stability is a major research topic. The research on fuel processors is in the field of catalyst development and reaction engineering. The scientific basics of catalysts for ethanol reforming and optimum process conditions for an ethanol to hydrogen reforming process are explored. Reformer components  on  basis  of  micro  reactor  technology are built and explored, whereas methods for catalyst coating of metallic microstructures are developed.