UCL Electrochemical Innovation Lab


Lara Rasha

Lara completed her MEng degree at University College London (UCL) in Chemical Engineering. In her final year, she was introduced to fuel cells through a research module in the Electrochemical Innovation Lab (EIL) with current supervisor Professor Dan Brett. The project involved fitting a range-extending fuel cell system into a mobility scooter and designing the power electronics with Arduino micro-controllers. Her PhD work now focuses on the thermal and water management of PEFCs from single to cells to automotive stacks. 

Research Summary
Lara's research focuses on developing techniques to map the electrical, thermal and water responses in an operational polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC). The three parameters are intrinsically related and the effective thermal and water management is crucial for the optimal performance of the fuel cell. To be able to create modifications to fuel cell systems, their relationship need to be thoroughly studied. This work is applied across a range of PEFC systems; small single cells to large automotive fuel cells. Other work include the development of a cost-effective, lab-based and in-operando water visualisation technique using lock-in thermography. In addition to her main PhD work, Lara is looking at the hybridisation of batteries and supercapacitors to a fuel cell system. The power train will then be implemented into a mobility scooter and a go-kart, to experiment with the hybridised configurations for different power cycles. 

H2FC Supergen Belfast (2016), ECRC Abingdon (2017 and 2019), UCL-Industry Energy Storage Networking Event (2017), H2FC Trondheim (2018), ECS Dallas (2019).

-    Design of experiments to generate a fuel cell electro-thermal performance map and optimise transitional pathways, 2018, International Journal of Powertrains 7(1-3), pp. 118-141. 
-    Integration of supercapacitors into printed circuit boards, 2018, Journal of Energy Storage 19, pp. 28-34.
-    [First author]: Adjusted method to calculate an electric wheelchair power cycle: fuel cell implementation example, 2019, Journal of Energy Storage 23, pp. 371-380.
-    Effect of compression on the water management of polymer electrolyte fuel cells: An in-operando neutron radiography study, 2019, Journal of Power Sources 412, pp. 597-605.
-    Investigation of water generation and accumulation in polymer electrolyte fuel cells using hydro-electrochemical impedance imaging, 2019, Journal of Power Sources 414, pp. 272-277.
-    Effect of cell compression on the water dynamics of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell using in-plane and through-plane in-operando neutron radiography, 2019, Journal of Power Sources [Submitted]
-    Characterization of water management in metal foam flow-field based polymer electrolyte fuel cells using in-operando neutron radiography, 2019, Journal of Power Sources [Submitted]