The overall aim of this project is to produce an intelligent and dynamic infrastructure to support the fuel cell system design and operation to achieve optimal reliability throughout its life, in a given market with specified limitations on the available resources.
The overall project aim will be achieved by addressing four objectives: robust design, asset management, diagnostics and intelligent infrastructure.
(i) Achieve the most robust design through the initial design process when component selection, redundancy levels and maintenance service intervals will be fixed to give optimal reliability performance whilst accounting for limitations on resources, such as system weight, system dimensions, initial system cost, and functional requirements including range, performance and whole life costs.
(ii) Establish a dynamic asset management strategy to minimise the occurrence of system failures and maximise operational reliability and availability. This will be achieved by understanding the degradation of the system elements and performing maintenance in a way which avoids unexpected breakdowns. Maintenance will, where possible, be performed on a predict and avoid strategy rather than a reactive approach which responds to the occurrence of failures.
(iii) Establish the diagnostic capability to identify the causes of failed or degraded system performance. For some failure modes the identification of the degraded performance will enable correction before the failure materialises. In cases of failure determining the causes will facilitate high availability.
(iv) Establish a real-time dynamic and adaptive intelligent infrastructure to manage large terse data sets and to enable interrogation of the information for system level informed decisions in dynamic and changing situations.
Based on Figure 1, identifiable objectives to produce the capabilities and methodologies which, when combined, will achieve the overall project aim, are listed in Table 1. During and at the end of the project the methodologies will be proved and demonstrated by application to a practical fuel cell design and operational requirements provided by the collaborator, Intelligent Energy.