Fuel cell innovation at the National Research Council
Fuel Cell Innovation at the NRC
(Vancouver, British Columbia)
The National Research Council of Canada’s (NRC) Vancouver laboratory’s expertise is focused on fuel cell and hydrogen technologies and extends to other electrochemical storage devices, including metal air batteries and ultracapacitors for transportation, smart grid and other stationary applications. The facility also offers abrasion testing, erosion testing, surface characterization and failure analysis of equipment to improve efficiencies and reduce environmental impact in the oil & gas, mining and mineral processing sectors.
Types of R&D conducted
NRC applies its strengths in materials science, electrochemistry, modelling and systems engineering to conduct targeted R&D and provide services to move technologies from the bench-scale to commercial-scale demonstration.
Fuel Cell Technology
NRC was recently ranked among the top 10 government and non-government organizations for scientific output in fuel cell research in the world, specializing in increasing durability and decreasing costs of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs), and developing Direct Carbon Fuel Cells (DCFCs) capable of directly utilizing a variety of fuels (diesel, biofuels, biogas).
Batteries & Ultracapacitors
NRC’s energy conversion and storage expertise extends to metal air batteries and ultracapacitors, conducting micro-structure modelling of battery electrodes, performance and degradation as well as evaluating battery performance, cycling, and construction.
NRC advances the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier and storage technology through research and engineering projects for mobile and stationary applications, including modelling of hydrogen fuelling stations to optimize their design and operations, and development of hydrogen generation, compression and purification technologies.
NRC is well equipped to help businesses achieve cohesive, integrated and timely solutions to complex R&D problems for both Canadian and global markets. Each year NRC scientists, engineers and business experts work closely with thousands of firms, helping them bring new technologies to market. Through research collaborations, community innovation, industry support and commercialization opportunities, firms benefit from NRC’s expertise, services, facilities and licensing opportunities while increasing their own innovation potential.
NRC’s leading-edge facilities provide businesses, universities and government partners with access to state-of-the-art equipment as well as results-driven research and training programs. NRC also offers fee-for-service testing equipment to help businesses accelerate their design cycles.
NRC’s Industrial Partnership Facilities, also known as “business incubators,” provide businesses the opportunity to co-locate with the NRC, enabling them to tap into the organization’s multidisciplinary resources, often leading to successful partnerships.
Modelling & Numerical Simulation
NRC offers world-class design, modelling and optimization services spanning from the electronic level, to a nano and micro level, up to macro or system level modelling. Applications include fuel cell electrodes and stacks, battery electrodes, heat exchangers, combustors, wood-product and bio-mass processing.
Advanced Testing & Validation Centre (ATVC)
The ATVC provides objective, reliable and accurate testing and validation of hydrogen, fuel cell and other clean energy technologies for the global market.
Wear & Corrosion
NRC’s Wear & Corrosion group provides consultancy and evaluation services to reduce the severe wear and corrosion damage and related high costs and production losses that occur in mining and mineral processing, increasing energy efficiency and mitigating the environmental impact of natural resource production.
NRC’s Vancouver facility is a “living laboratory” with the facilities and capabilities to host integrated technology demonstration projects, with a primary objective of addressing technical barriers to the deployment of fuel cell, hydrogen and other clean energy technologies.
Partners and collaboration opportunities
NRC works with industry, governments, universities and other partners to leverage resources and advance clean energy technologies to commercialization.
Vancouver Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Technology Cluster
Over the past decade NRC has partnered with universities, industry and other government departments to build critical infrastructure, attract investment, train highly qualified people, and develop and deploy new technology. These initiatives have helped the Vancouver-based Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technology Cluster evolve from a prototyping stage to demonstration and early commercialization.
BC Clean Energy Technology Cooperative
The BC Clean Energy Technology Cooperative unites the world-class talent, expertise and infrastructure of three leading-edge organizations (NRC, University of British Columbia, and Powertech Labs) to target industry technology development, validation, demonstration and commercialization needs.
BC Hydrogen Highway™
The BC Hydrogen Highway™ is now the world's largest demonstration of hydrogen and fuel cell technology, helping refine technologies, establish codes and standards and inform end-users and investors of the benefits of this clean energy technology.
Business arrangements are adapted to partner needs, including collaborative and contract research agreements, fee-for-service, business incubation, and licensing opportunities.
“Without NRC – the investment they were willing to make in infrastructure and their willingness to incubate new companies – it would have been very difficult for us to get off to such a quick start and attract customers as quickly as we did.”
--Adrian Corless, Chief Technical Officer, Plug Power Canada (formerly Cellex Power)
Unique or high-value hardware and/or software
NRC’s 66,000 square foot LEED Gold-certified building is located on the University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver, BC. The facility serves as a “living laboratory” for clean energy technology research, development and demonstration.
- 21 specialized laboratories, including seven hydrogen-safe labs
- Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Maintenance Facility and 350 bar hydrogen fuelling station, the Pacific Spirit Fuelling Station
- Hydrogen-ready Environmental Chamber that tests and evaluates vehicles and systems in a wide range of climatic conditions
- Vibration Table, used alone or in cooperation with the Environmental Chamber, can be used to test a variety of equipment and components to Underwriters Laboratory and military standards
- Fuel Cell & Battery Test Stations designed to address all aspects of testing for fuel cells, stacks and battery modules
- Abrasion erosion and corrosion equipment for material wear, erosion and corrosion test validation and certification
- High-performance computing cluster features 320 cores offering multi-scale and multidisciplinary modelling services using software packages such as Ansys, CFD-ACE, Comsol, Fluent, Gromacs, LAMMPS, SPPARKS and VASP
National Research Council of Canada
4250 Wesbrook Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6T 1W5, Canada
Shaohong Wu, Director
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