The Norwegian Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Systems Laboratory (N-FCH)

The Norwegian Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Systems Laboratory is hosted by IFE, and is one of three nodes in the Norwegian Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Centre (N-FCH).

The N-FCH Systems Laboratory focuses on the integration of fuel cells (mobile applications) and water electrolysers (stationary applications) into power systems. The N-FCH Systems Laboratory is located in the IFE Hynor Hydrogen Technology Centre at Kjeller, Norway

Power System

In the N-FCH Systems Laboratory the battery module, fuel cell system and water electrolyser are connected to the same DC-bus via dedicated DC/DC converters (figure below).  The DC/DC-converters are custom-made in order to provide a large flexibility with respect to input voltages and currents, making it possible to test many different types of units.  The DC-bus is connected to the local grid via an AC/DC bidirectional converter, which can be programmed to emulate different types of loads or generators.

Fuel Cell System

In the fuel cell test rig it will be possible to test both full stacks with smaller electrode areas (high voltage, low current), as well as short stacks with larger electrode areas (low voltage, high current), with power ratings up to 20 kW.

The Balance of Plant (BoP) for the fuel cell test rig, designed and developed by IFE, includes a monitoring- and control system. The system is designed to test and validate low temperature PEM fuel cells.  Reference fuel cell stacks, components, and control systems are delivered from well-known manufacturers, such as PowerCell, Busch, Bürkert, and National Instruments.

Water Electrolyser System

A small-scale water electrolyzer system test rig (6 Nm3/h) for testing of PEM-stacks (Proton Exchange Membrane) capable of operating at high pressures (up to 350 bar) has been designed and built by IFE. The PEMWE Systems Laboratory can be used to test and characterize high-differential pressure stacks, emulate duty cycles (e.g. grid load profiles, solar and/or wind generation), test hybrid system configurations of water electrolyzers and batteries, and to perform R&D related to key components of the balance of plant (BoP). A state-of-art prototype high pressure (350 bar) PEM electrolyser stack with a production capacity of 2 Nm3/h has been installed as reference technology.

More info about the High Pressure PEM Water Electrolysis System Laboratory

Battery System

The battery module is delivered by PBES and is equipped with a breaker unit, Battery Management System (BMS), and water cooling system. It has a capacity of 26 kWh. The maximum power draw is 3C continuously, and up to 6C for transients. The battery is comprised of NMC/Graphite High Power cells from XALT.

System Applications

The flexible power system setup in the N-FCH Systems Laboratory (figure above) makes it possible to emulate the operation and performance of several different types of FCH power system applications.  IFE is currently focusing on the following applications:

  • Fuel cell power systems for ships, locomotives, and heavy duty vehicles
    The N-FCH Systems Laboratory can here be used to emulate duty cycles (e.g. motors) and test corresponding performance of fuel cells, batteries, and hybrid fuel cell / battery system configurations. (MoZEES RA3 research topic)
  • Water electrolysis for renewable energy based power systems
    The N-FCH Systems Laboratory can here be used to emulate duty cycles (e.g. grid load profiles, solar and/or wind generation) and test the performance of water electrolyzers, batteries and hybrid system configurations (MoZEES RA3 research topic)

N-FCH Centre

The N-FCH Centre is a research infrastructure project funded by the Norwegian Research Council.  The first phase of the project is from 2016 to 2018, where the goal is to establish the new N-FCH research infrastructure.  IFE is obligated to operate the N-FCH Systems Laboratory until 2026.

The two other nodes of the N-FCH infrastructure project are the low temperature fuel cell and electrolyser laboratory hosted by NTNU/Sintef in Trondheim, and the high temperature fuel cell and electrolyser laboratory hosted by Sintef in Oslo. Both of these laboratories will focus on the components of the fuel cell and electrolyser stack, and will have test stations for testing single cells and short stacks.

More information about IFE Hynor Hydrogen Technology Centre

More info about the Norwegian FCH research infrastructure project:

More info about MoZEES RA3 research topics:


Ulleberg, Øystein

Hydrogen Technology,

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