Case Studies

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Customizable Test Platform

Alternative Fuel Bus Fuel Cell
Posted in Automotive, Embedded Development & Programming, Energy and Utilities, Green Technology, Infrastructure, LabVIEW, Product Development, Test & Measurement Automation, Test Stand


Through continued research, fuel cells are developing into a very efficient and clean production method to satisfy future electrical energy needs.  Fuel cells provide a number of critical benefits not present within many of the conventional energy production methods in use today.  Most notably, the energy provided by fuel cells is produced from hydrogen, a conversion which releases only air and water and creates no harmful emissions.  This characteristic is one of many reasons that fuel cells are continuing to gain ground in commercial, private consumer/residential, military, automotive, portable and many other electrical energy production industries.

Fuel cells produce energy without the need for combustion.  Rather, the chemical energy contained in hydrogen gas is converted electrical energy by passing hydrogen ions through an electrolyte sandwiched between two electrodes.  (see the diagram at right for a graphical representation of this process) In many ways, a fuel cell acts a lot like a battery.  The fuel cell, however, will never run down or require recharging; it will only require source of hydrogen fuel.  While the fuel source can be refined hydrogen gas, research into fuel reforming techniques continues to provide new methods that allow fuel cells to utilize hydrogen from any hydrocarbon fuel (i.e. natural gas or gasoline).  This provides a possible technology to span the gap between reliance on fossil fuels and the creation of a new energy infrastructure.  

Fuel Cell Basics

Fuel Cell Basics Diagram

Fuel Cell Designs

Fuel Cell Prototypes


Successful Execution- Time and again, DMC has proven that we complete projects successfully, no matter what the odds. Our unrivaled team of expert engineers and consultants have one priority: getting your project done.

Top Caliber Results- When you trust your project to DMC, you know that the best minds in Scientific Test and Measurement Automation are building your solution. Our experienced engineers bring you experience-based best practices and expert analysis.

Freedom From Lock-In- At DMC, we believe you should continue to work with us because you want to, not because you have to. To that end, we build very flexible systems that deliver full source code and that don’t require programmers to adjust, and we train your staff on system modification procedures.

Customer Benefits

Fuel Cell research and development is an iterative process that requires extensive amounts of data collected in a repeatable and accurate manner over a period of days, weeks and even months.  DMC provides clients with customized test and measurement platforms that allow for standardized tests and test environment conditions.  DMC understands that the scientists and engineers involved with R&D or building fuel cells need a variety of data acquisition, control, analysis, and visualization tools to assess and validate fuel cell technologies.  Our systems provide comparative data on the performance, characteristics, and robustness of both single fuel cells and fuel cell stacks.  This data is often integral to continued product development progress.  A solution designed by DMC allows the client to:

  • Simulate a variety of real-world load  scenarios using state of the art load devices
  • Control experimental conditions through custom-designed flow control and thermal management systems
  • Collect data using a customized and expandable data acquisition system

In addition to testing the fuel cells, DMC offers clients the ability to simulate fuel cell stacks in order to validate the management systems that monitor stack conditions, control fuel flow, and control coolant flow.  See our Battery Management System Validation Test Stand case study for more details on this technology.


DMC’s modular Platforms incorporate proven  software and hardware architectures, along with flexible and reliable subsystem components, which can be completely customized to end user specifications.

Our Platforms are built around high quality off-the-shelf  hardware  assembled  from  a  variety  of vendors,  including  National  Instruments  (NI),  Pickering Interfaces, Lambda, and Agilent, to mention only a few.  Selection of  individual  instruments  in  ALL  DMC  systems  is  based completely on  required performance, not allegiance to a single  hardware or software  vendor.    This strict attention to specifications  and  performance  provides  DMC  clients with best in class performance.