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Research Facilities

The Future Energy Electronics Center,(FEEC) has a laboratory in Whittemore Hall and an off-campus lab, (shown to the right), which is located at 220 Inventive Ln, Blacksburg.


The Inventive Lane laboratory is used for research, design and testing by the majority of our graduate students.

[Whittemore Hall]

Fuel Cells of the FEEC

Ballard Labs Nexa® 1.2kW PEM Fuel Cell

[Ballard Labs Nexa® power module photo]

The Ballard Labs Nexa® power module was introduced in 2001 as the world's first volume-produced proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell module designed for integration into a wide variety of stationary and portable power generation applications. A more complete description is available from Ballard.

Using Ballard's PEM technology, the Nexa® power module converts hydrogen fuel and oxygen in a non-combustive electrochemical reaction to generate up to 1200 watts of unregulated DC electrical power.

Two donated by American Power Conversion (March 2003)

Avista Labs SR72 3kW PEM Fuel Cell

[Avista Labs SR72 photo]

SR-72 3kW PEM fuel cell (left) from Avista Labs uses bottled hydrogen. Unlike Ballard and other manufactures, the Avista units do not have any mechanical parts. Stack hydration levels are maintained by periodically shorting the output, creating a very nasty DC output. The commercial inverter used in the SR-72 is very inefficient (72%), has very poor transient response, and does not adequately shield the fuel cells from ripple. Our lab has developed new technologies that will prevent fuel degradation from these issues. (See the (97% Efficency Club)

Each SR-72 Unit consists of six 500W SR-12 PEMs. Each fuel cell has 12 Avista Labs 250 Series cartridges. This modular design allows the cartridges to be replaced in the field and provide durability.

Fuel Cell Technology Simulator

The simulator is capable of testing fuel cell converters up to 50V, 10kW.

Donated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (April 2005)

Simulation & Design Capabilities

Ansoft donated 20 licenses for each of the following software packages.

  • AnsoftLinks for MCAD V3.1: IGES and STEP for Maxwell 2D/3D V9, HFSS V8.5, Spicelink 5.0
  • Maxwell 3D V9 (includes Maxwell 2D V9)
  • Optimetrics V2.5 (for HF/SI/EM)
  • PExprt V5: Full (includes Maxwell 2D)
  • RMxprt V4
  • Simplorer V6.0: Pro (with options: Automotive Library, Hydraulic Library, Machine Library, Mechanical Library, Power Library, Spicepack, Switch Mode Power Supply Library)
  • Spicelink V5.0

We also make extensive use of the following software:


Contact

Address: 220 Inventive Ln, Blacksburg, VA 24061   Tel: (540) 231-5581   Fax: (540) 231-3362

Copyright 2009 Virginia Tech FEEC