HyLife - Degradation of Fuel Cells

PEM fuel cell systems convert green hydrogen into electrical energy and are used to power electric vehicles. Therefore, they will play an important role in a sustainable society

One of the major challenges in the adoption of PEM fuel cells is their moderate lifetime due to various degradation mechanisms that occur during certain modes of operation. Currently, PEMFCs for heavy-duty operation have a maximum lifetime of 35,000 hours, which is not sufficient for widespread use. In order for fuel cell systems to contribute to a sustainable society, it is important to better understand the degradation mechanisms, optimise test methods and thus increase the overall lifetime of fuel cells.




The aim of the HyLife project is to gain a deeper understanding of the degradation of fuel cells, stacks and systems by using new test methods and diagnostic tools and implementing prevention measures. The project focuses on developing novel test methods for accelerated stress testing, especially for high power applications, and investigating the interdependence of degradation mechanisms at different levels, including cells, stacks and systems. In addition, the project aims to investigate the degradation of Balance of Plant (BoP) components, such as connectors in the coolant, and their interaction with cells and stacks.





In addition, the project will develop a holistic diagnostic tool for degradation prediction that enables passive monitoring at all integration levels for fuel cell tests. This includes the derivation of countermeasures at cell, stack and system level as well as the determination of the current state of the fuel cell. All these goals will be implemented in the existing test infrastructures of HyCentA, TU Graz and AVL. The long-term and strategic goal of HyLife is to increase the lifetime of fuel cells by developing and implementing new methods and tools to understand, detect and prevent degradation of PEMFCs. This is crucial for the widespread use of fuel cell systems in a sustainable society and for achieving emission reduction targets.



Expected Results:

  • Available testing methods for accelerated stress testing
  • Deeper insights in degradation mechanisms (time-dependent, state-of-health)
  • New testing procedure is implemented into a holistic tool chain
  • Countermeasures on cell, stack and system (incl. BoP) level under the consideration of the actual state-of-health are presented


Short Facts:


04/2021 - 03/2025


Mobility / Transport

Project lead + Contact

HyCentA Research GmbH
Sebastian Scheikl (Turn on Javascript!)


AVL List GmbH, Henn GmbH & Co KG, TU Graz- CEET & ITnA



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