Fuel Cell Mobility Development:
X-Ray CT for every stage

The development of NEVs, or new energy vehicles, is one of the major difficulties the automobile industry is now facing. Battery-electric cars are currently the center of attention in public transportation and delivery, but electromobility is already encountering limits in some places. In addition to the quick advancement of battery technology, hydrogen technology serves as an alternate fuel for long-distance travel. Future electromobility will rely heavily on hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen as a source of energy.

Since these new technologies are radically distinct from cars with combustion engines, the entire supply chain for production, from manufacturers to suppliers, must be revamped. 

By providing a variety of cutting-edge quality assurance solutions that guarantee the dependability, effectiveness, and safety of e-vehicles, RX Solutions' unique X-ray CT technology assists in navigating this change.

How Do Fuel Cells Work?

Instead of using combustion to create power, fuel cells use an electrochemical reaction. As long as fuel is available, it functions like batteries, generating heat and electricity. Two electrodes—a positive electrode (or cathode) and a negative electrode (or anode)—sandwiched around an electrolyte make up a fuel cell. In order to power the electric motor, H2 and air are mixed.

The most crucial element is the fuel cell stack. Engineers layer fuel cells by bipolar plates since each one only produces a modest amount of power. A full stack may accommodate up to 400 fuel cells in a passenger automobile. The number of stacks can be raised to accommodate increasing power needs.

However, mass-producing a system as intricate as a fuel-cell stack is a difficult operation. The efficiency of each fuel cell stack must be perfect.

A CO2-Free Mobility Solution

Since the European Union and the majority of wealthy nations worldwide agreed to a zero-emission globe by 2050, hydrogen, or H2, has become a hot topic. Between 2024 and 2030, hydrogen must play a significant role in a comprehensive plan to advance the energy transition. Renewable hydrogen technologies should mature by 2030 and be widely adopted by 2050 to decarbonize industries when other alternatives are impractical. Due to its effectiveness as a technology for zero-emission transportation, hydrogen is driving European carbon neutrality on a worldwide scale.

By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation must be reduced by 90%. Customers will have the "power of choice" between hydrogen fuel cells and battery electric. Different consumer needs will be satisfied by both propulsion strategies.

H2 Production Methods

There are various ways to create hydrogen, including thermal, electrolytic, solar-powered, and biological processes. Due to its extremely low energy density, hydrogen storage is quite complicated once it is created. In addition, the principal danger posed by hydrogen is that it is readily flammable, causing a frequently imperceptible, high-temperature flame to burn or create an explosive mixture with air. For public use, this danger needs to be at least minimally reduced. The usage of X-ray CT can be crucial in determining if storage tanks used in automobiles are trustworthy and safe enough to be put on the market.

X-ray CT can be utilized at every stage of the production process for e-mobility fuel cells, from R&D applications to large manufactured parts inspection, as it is a non-destructive technology that covers applications from nano to micro-scale.
Method 1

3D Rendering of H2 Electrodes 
Can Be Achieved With X-Ray Nano-Ct.

The 3D microstructure of the anode-electrolyte stack may be seen at very high resolution using nano-CT. The stack of proton-exchange membrane fuel cells, also known as polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEM fuel cells), generates power through the electrochemical exchange of reactant gases such as hydrogen and oxygen. The CT makes it possible to see faults inside these stacks' volume and charts how they changed after the electrochemical reaction. Better comprehension paves the door for better defect anticipation.

A potent technique for depicting the interior electrode microstructure in three dimensions at a very high resolution is X-ray nano-CT. This idea is founded on the advancement of current micro-CT technology. As the spatial resolution evolves, the cellular architecture of the parts become more visible. 

The term "nano" is intended to emphasize that the cross-section pixel sizes are in the nanoscale range, making this new technique unmistakably known as Nano-CT. The 3D microstructure of the anode-electrolyte in an electrochemical cell as well as the reduction behavior can be scanned at very high resolution using nano-CT. To analyze and improve the production process and maximize the profits from such cells, X-ray CT is helpful.
Method 2

Inspection of a Component or Assembly 
Using Micro-Ct

On a different scale, X-ray CT may be used to image the tanks that will be filled with H2 without causing any damage. Since hydrogen tanks are made to store the gas at extremely high pressures, there are numerous safety issues. The non-destructive control and accurate inspection of both the external and interior structures of the entire tank is made possible with the use of X-ray micro-CT. The composite can be thoroughly examined to check for delaminations and porosities that might weaken the tank.

Compressed hydrogen fuel tanks are build from carbon fiber composites or composites that combine carbon fiber with metal alloys. A high-molecular-weight polymer acts as a permeation barrier for hydrogen gas in the inner line of the tank.

In addition to controlling and inspecting the final assembly, X-ray computed tomography is highly helpful for understanding the microstructure of composite materials and looking for potential assembly faults. The X-ray technique is strong enough to examine inside the material and find leaks or delaminations without causing any damage. Because hydrogen gas is extremely dangerous when it comes into contact with oxygen, the tank must be completely sealed to prevent leaks from spreading.
Composite tube
X-ray scan of composite fibers

Method 3

Manufacturing Process 
Inline Inspection

It is difficult to manufacture a system as sophisticated as a fuel-cell stack on a large scale. The efficiency of each fuel cell stack must be excellent. By using X-ray CT to automatically monitor the production lines for fuel cell electric vehicles, any flaws or drifts can be found right away.

With recent technology developments, a very high components throughput is now feasible, and X-ray CT offers crucial flexibility. The production process becomes simultaneously more efficient as a result of the immediate input on the external and interior qualities of the part.

X-ray CT is applied to monitor the generation of NEVs.
Compared to combustion vehicles, new electric vehicles have fewer parts, but they still need a thorough quality check. X-ray CT is a cutting-edge, non-destructive technique that can be used at any stage of research and development or production.

Benefits of Using X-Ray CT to Inspect EVs Components

    › From an individual part to an entire assembly

    ›  A method that can be applied at every stage of the life cycle of your products

    ›  A more thorough examination of hydrogen components for both internal and external structures.

    ›  A single scan for a variety of analyses of all kinds

    ›  Easy automated processes, including simple duplication of studies over periodic object structures.

    ›  Costs and times for inspections are dramatically decreased.
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Our cutting-edge X-ray CT technologies are appropriate for product development, turning concepts into actual products that are prepared for manufacture. Our company's goal is user-driven innovations, and we provide you with the best solutions possible with the appropriate interface and powerful components.

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