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    Simon Fraser University Summary: Researchers working to improve durability in fuel cell powered buses have discovered links between electrode degradation processes and bus membrane durability.

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    The team is quantifying the effects of electrode degradation stressors in the operating cycle of the bus on the membrane lifetime. The findings of the study, led by SFU graduate student Natalia MaCauley, are the latest in a long-term study at Burnaby-based Ballard Power Systems and funded by Automotive Partnership Canada that aims to make fuel cell buses competitive with diesel hybrids.

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    To improve fuel cell module durability and predict longevity, researchers are studying the degradation mechanisms of the fuel cells that occur under real-world transit bus conditions. The fuel cell is a mechatronic device, and the bandwidth of this project allows advances in chemistry to be engineered and implemented into Ballard's products.

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    Dating uvic post-doctoral fellow Amir Niroumand, who heads the research on system level reliability and lifetime for fuel cell buses, says their objective is to operate fuel cells safely with extended lifetimes by studying how and why these fuel cells work.

    This requires the capability to detect potential issues and determine operating capabilities.

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    Testing to improve the understanding of dating uvic failure mechanisms and validate developed predictive models is underway in labs at Ballard, SFU and UVic. Project manager Kourosh Malek says the work to date has met all of its month milestones, including a substantive effort devoted to training students. Kjeang adds: "This is not only research that will lower costs, extend product life and address sustainability issues.

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    These HQPs, vital to the project, are creating tomorrow's workforce. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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