An interdisciplinary capstone design project in fuel cell development

Eric M. Stuve, Per G. Reinhall, Michael G. Jenkins, Joyce S. Cooper, Angela Rae Linse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Since 1996 the University of Washington has maintained an interdisciplinary capstone design project to develop proton exchange membrane fuel cells running on hydrogen and air, along with their applications. Currently, the project involves about 20 chemical and mechanical engineering students. Work is divided into three main areas of fuel cells: development, applications, and manufacturing. Fuel cell development involves fabrication and characterization of individual fuel cells and assembling these together into stacks of up to 40 individual cells. The applications group develops design specifications for the intended applications, which include a 1/3 scale locomotive, modified SAE car, and portable devices such as radios and laptop computers. The manufacturing group investigates cost saving means for producing fuel cell components, especially the membrane electrode assemblies and flow field plates. To date the students have succeeded in developing a single fuel cell with performance specifications of 0.25 A/cm 2 at 0.6 V, which is within a factor of 2-4 of current industrial standards. Stack development is currently underway. The locomotive and two passenger coaches have already been constructed. The locomotive, which will require a 10 kW fuel cell, rides on 18 inch gauge track and has a 100 V, 13 hp electric motor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1823-1839
Number of pages17
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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