Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Hydrogen Fuel Quality Analyzer

An in-line hydrogen fuel quality analyzer to detect trace amounts of CO and H2S present in hydrogen fuel cells.

LAUR: 16-23430


  • LANL’s Sensor Is More Sensitive To Impurities- LANL has developed a dispersed platinum-type membrane electrode assembly (MEA) that is more sensitive to impurities and more durable to harsh conditions than a regular fuel cell MEA. LANL's analyzer operates as a hydrogen pump and uses a potentiostat to probe its Pt electrode with a voltage to measure the current response from hydrogen oxidizing on one side and protons reducing on the other.
  • Detects Ultralow Concentrations of CO and H2S- The data is plotted on a current versus voltage graph and shows the resistance of cells affected by any poisoning of the Pt electrode. This enables the analyzer to detect trace amounts of CO and H2S present in the system to 100 ppb and 10 ppb respectively.

T. Rockward et al., 2015 DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Annual Merit Review, June 2015, Crystal City, VA.


U.S. Patent # 6,656,336, “Method for Forming a Potential Hydrocarbon Sensor with Low Sensitivity to Methane and CO, issued Dec 2, 2003 (DOE S-97,844).

U.S. Patent # 6,605,202, “Electrodes for Solid State Gas Sensor”, issued Aug 12, 2003 (DOE S-99,902).

U.S. Patent # 7,214,333, “Electrodes for Solid State Gas Sensor”, issued May 8, 2007 (DOE S-100,634).

U.S. Patent # 7,264,700, “Thin Film Mixed Potential Sensors”; issued Sept. 4, 2007 (DOE S-100,655).

Development Stage

Transitioning from laboratory proof of concept to prototyping and field tests. First packaged prototype using standard polymer electrolyte fuel cell hardware finished in March 2016. TRL 4.