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October 24 , 2006

FAST Research Presentation of Alternative Energy Sources for Homes and Cars

Fida Abdullah, Rodrigo Pena, Dr. Hazem Tawfik,Neville Perkins and Raja Crowley
Fida Abdullah, Rodrigo Pena, Dr. Hazem Tawfik,Neville Perkins and Raja Crowley

Farmingdale State 's Engineering Technology students spent ten weeks this summer focusing on alternative energy sources through the Department of Energy- Faculty and Student Teams Program (FaST) managed by the Office of Educational Programs at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

The research and development project included parametric and optimization studies related to Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Hydrogen and Methanol Fuel Cell applications. The students were mentored by BNL's Dr. Devinder Mahajan , Research Professor, and Dr. Hazem Tawfik , Director of the Institute for Research and Technology Transfer.

Four Farmingdale State students, Raja Crowley , Neville Perkins , Fida Abdullah , and Rodrigo Pena , divided this optimization study into four smaller projects on which each student could focus his/her research.  The projects were complementary and encouraged cooperation between the four students and their professors.

A resident of Stony Brook, Ms. Crowley examined the performance of the metallic bipolar plates in comparison to the graphite plates at different concentrations of methanol. Due to the low Interfacial Contact Resistance (ICR) of the aluminum coated plates, they showed 29% to 45% improvement in performance relative to graphite. Her novel results have contributed to the validity and viability of the metallic bipolar plates as efficient current collectors in the PEM fuel cell.

Mr. Perkins, a Brentwood resident, studied the thermal management aspect of the PEM fuel cells. He was able to relate the air cooling load to the stack power output. His results will be used as a design tool for PEM fuel cell air cooling system.

A resident of Bay Shore , Mr. Abdullah's work has provided an understanding of the humidity and water management of reactant gases inside the PEM stack as a critical parameter for the optimization of fuel cell power output. His results showed that the humidification of the air/oxygen in the cathode side is crucial to cell performance. Also, the humidification of both reactant gasses at the anode and cathode were of slightly lesser importance.

A resident of East Meadow , Mr. Pena's task was to study the integration of solar energy with hydrogen fuel cell to power residential homes. The excess of solar energy from the photovoltaic during the day is used to generate hydrogen by electrolyzing water to its main components hydrogen and oxygen.  The hydrogen is stored in tanks to be used with the fuel cell to provide energy on demand after sundown.

Upon completion of the program, the FaST research group published and presented the following:

Published Papers:

  • Effects of Impurities in Hydrogen on the Power Output from PEM fuel Cells , Published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS - 2006)
  • Metal Bipolar Plates for PEM Fuel Cell, A Review , Published in the Journal of Power Sources 2006
  • Testing and Evaluation of Metallic bipolar Plates for PEM Fuel Cell , Published in the Journal of Power Sources 2006


  • Characterization and evaluation of Metallic Bipolar Plates , - American Society for Metals (ASM) September, 2006
  • Characterization and evaluation of Metallic Bipolar Plates , - American Society for Mechanical Engineers, October, 2006