AST Protocols


Accelerated Stress Testing (AST) Protocols for Heavy-Duty Fuel Cells


One of the most pressing technical challenges in fuel-cell research and development of HDVs is the greater demand for durability, with over 5x improvements in the lifetime to achieve the M2FCT goal of 1 million miles (1.6 million km). Overcoming this challenge requires not only the design and interrogation of robust materials for more durable cells, but also the durability protocol development and lifetime prediction models to guide the material and cell design. An essential aspect of durability efforts for fuel cells is the development of Accelerated Stress Testing (AST) for Heavy-Duty Fuel Cells, which is one of the focus areas and milestones in the M2FCT consortium. To realize this goal effectively and to expedite the research output, M2FCT has formed an AST working group (ASTWG) in 2021 with the objective of defining the 25,000-hour equivalent AST in the M2FCT 2025 Target.


We have worked closely with the interested stakeholders, received input from the 21st Century Truck Partnership on real drive cycles, evaluated the representative stressors, and developed a protocol for AST of HDV fuel cells.

M2FCT (Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck) consortium has recently published an MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly) AST (Accelerated Stress Test) protocol. This protocol still needs validation and approval by the Fuel Cell Joint Tech Team.

M2FCT plans to run this protocol on various MEAs this year to understand the degradation rates of SOA (State of the Art) materials under this protocol. The protocol will be updated (If needed) by the end of the Fiscal year (Sept 2023). Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any comments.

Heavy-Duty MEA AST Protocol:


Cycle Square wave between 0.675 V (30s) and 0.925 V (30s); Single-cell 50 cm2 a  
Number 500 hours or 30,000 cycles  
Cycle time 1 minute  
Temperature 90oC  
Relative Humidity Anode/Cathode: 50%/50%  
Fuel/Oxidant Hydrogen/Air(H2 at 1000 sccm and Air at 2500 sccm for a 50 cm2 cell  
Pressure 250 kPa  








Metric Frequency Target
Catalytic Mass Activity b At BOT,c after 100h, 200h, 300h, 400h, 500h   TBD
ECSA/Cyclic Voltammetry d At BOT, after 100h, 200h, 300h, 400h, 500h   TBD
Hydrogen Crossover e At BOT, after 100h, 200h, 300h, 400h, 500h   TBD
Polarization curve f At BOT, after 100h, 200h, 300h, 400h, 500h   TBD









a.   14-channel serpentine cell (Baker et al. 2009 J. Electrochem. Soc., 156, B991) operated under counter flow conditions.

b.   Mass activity in A/mg @ 150 kPa abs backpressure at 900 mV iR-corrected on H2/O2, 100% RH, 80°C, anode stoichiometry 2; cathode stoichiometry 9.5, normalized to initial mass of catalyst and measured before and after test (as per Gasteiger et al. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 56 (2005) 9-35). The measured ORR current should be corrected for H2 crossover and shorting.

c.   BOT measured after a conditioning protocol comparable to the one reported in Kabir et al 2019ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces
11, 45016.

d.   Sweep from 0.05 to 0.6 V at 20 mV/s, 30°C, 100% RH.

e.  Crossover measured at T = 30°C, RH = 100%, Pressure = 101.3 kPa, 2mV/s scan rate from 100 mV to 400 mV. H2 = 500 sccm, N2 = 500 sccm.

f.   H2/Air, 250 kPa abs backpressure, 90°C, 40% RH, cathode stoichiometry 1.5, anode stoichiometry 2; Recommend taking pol curves from high to low current densities at 0.01, 0.02, 0.03, 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1, 1.25, 1.5, 1.5 and 2 A/cm2, 240s hold time at each data point

g.   H2/Air, 250 kPa abs backpressure, 90°C, 40% RH; cathode stoichiometry 1.5 (300 sccm minimum flow); anode stoichiometry  2 (100 sccm minimum flow); 0.25(c)/0.05(a) mg/cm2 maximum PGM loading 


The protocol will be updated (if needed) by the end of the Fiscal year (September 2023).

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any comments.