A fuel cell converts the chemical energy from hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. The questions that come to mind are the fuel cell’s expected lifetime and its degradation degree. Hitoshi Nomasa, from Toyota Planning Division and project manager for the Mirai, said, “Since the fuel cell stack forces the chemical reaction, its degradation is inevitable.”
Nomasa continued, “The degradation degree is quite hard to assess, but it will degrade around 15% in 15 years’ time under strenuous operating conditions.”
Specifically, degradation means that the electrical output will drop, disenabling the motor to generate power. However, rather than immediately, the degradation will happen gradually in proportion to the frequency of use. Hence, it’s not 1% each year; rather, it will be around 15% in 15 years’ time.
The degradation will only affect the electrical output. Nomasa said, “The chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen will still happen. Hence, even if the electrical output drops, it won’t have that much effect to the cruising range.”
(Translated by Katherine N. Bantiles)