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In this thesis the design, manufacture and testing of an Alkaline Fuel Cell (AFC) that provide electrical power to a deep sea measurement problem is described. The fuel cell was designed to operate in a long-term mode at low temperatures. The power required for the measurement probe was in the order of 5 Watts. The measurement probe was designed to operate at a depth of 3000m in sea water at a temperature of approx. 5°C and at 300 bar pressure
the main design issues included: The design of a Fuel Cell to operate at these conditions and produce enough energy for at least one full year without maintenance or repair. The flow of the ions, electrolyte and water were also critical for this project and the analysis and understanding of how they interact with each other was of particular importance for the Fuel Cell. Attempting to emit the waste water from the chemical reactions was also a difficult task to achieve. This component of the fuel cell had to be designed and tested also. One other key element of the design was to remove the pumping system for the electrolyte as this was feasible for the operating conditions specified
Testing was carried out in a simulated environment at a Fuel Cell and Membrane Research and Development company in Germany. Testing consisted of low temperature tests. A number of tests without the use of a pumping system were also undertaken. An analysis and investigation of the transport of ions and water within the fuel cell were undertaken. One of the main outcomes was to determine which electrode the reaction water leaves the fuel cell. As the Fuel cell will be incorporated in a specially designed pressurised container, the 300 bar operating pressure was not tested as the fuel cell will operate at room pressure. Testing and results showed that the Alkaline Fuel Cell has the ability to operate in this environment as reported in this theses
Sauer, Gerhard (Thesis), "Fuel cell design for gas hydrates exploration and research" (2006). Masters. Paper 3.