Evaluation of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Power Source for Cathodic Bridge Protection System

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CAIT project no.: 63 RU780

Fiscal Year: 1998/1999

Status: Final

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Hani Nassif

External Author(s): Henry Schweber



This report pertains to a preliminary study to test the feasibility of retrofitting an existing bridge cathodic protection system with an ammonia/hydrogen fuel cell power supply. The feasibility study includes the selection of an appropriate hydrogen fuel cell, the design and installation of a data logger and remote collection unit, and long term monitoring of fuel cell performance. A detailed specification for each unit was developed and described in a Request For Proposals (RFP) sent by the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) to perspective fuel cell manufacturers. Also, a bridge site was selected for the installation of and applying the most reliable fuel cell under closely controlled conditions. The data logger was designed to allow for remote monitoring and data collection of fuel cell performance data under field conditions.

Based on the initial phase of the study, it is recommended that the hydrogen fuel cell system might not be the best alternative to supply power for the cathodic protection system, especially if electric power is available. Although, the project did not conclude by installing the fuel system and testing it under field conditions, it might be shown that technically it is feasible to use such technology, however, it is expected to be costly prohibitive in comparison with electric power and/or solar energy.