National Lab Partners for Fuel Cell Study

A new partnership between a filtration company and one of the nation’s premier research laboratories will undertake a study that hopes to inch fuel cells another step closer to commercialization.

Minneapolis, Minnesota – April 24, 2003 [] The Fuel Cell Contamination Control (FC3) division of filtration company Donaldson Company, Inc. established a formal research partnership with Los Alamos National Laboratory to study the effect of ambient contaminants on the performance, life and durability of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, Donaldson is using the research findings of the two-year program in its ongoing development of fuel cell filtration solutions. Donaldson’s filtration expertise will be used in the development of air filtration and acoustics mitigation systems that prolong fuel-cell engine life. Filtration is a critical component in accelerating commercialization of a wide range of fuel cell-powered products, including automobiles, cell phones, laptop computers and power generation products. “Donaldson leads the fuel cell industry in recognizing the need for intake-air filtration on the cathode of a fuel cell to ensure system reliability and performance,” said Francisco Uribe, Fuel Cell Research Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory. “With this formal research agreement, we are applying Donaldson’s leading-edge fuel cell filtration knowledge and products to our fuel cell experiments.” Fuel cell development to date has taken place in the controlled environment of the laboratory, where the air is relatively free of real-world contaminants. Donaldson Company air quality studies conducted on every continent show that ambient air carries enough pollution to adversely affect hydrogen fuel cell reliability. Sub-micrometer-sized particles, salts, oils, chemicals and volatile organic compounds — which can shorten fuel cell life — are all found in varying degrees in the atmosphere. “We recently received the worlds first patent for fuel cell filters, said Richard Canepa, director of Donaldson’s FC3 division. “This testing and research at Los Alamos National Laboratories assures our fuel customers that they remain on the leading edge of fuel cell filtration solutions.” Donaldson has established FC3 offices in North America, Japan, and Europe and is working with more than 30 fuel cell manufacturers and fuel cell-powered product developers to make the technology a commercially viable power source for a wide range of transportation, residential and portable applications.For more information about fuel cell engines, visit the Los Alamos fuel cell information page at the link below.