Fuel cells (FC) technology applied to energy production could represent an effective solution to face greenhouse gas emissions and to differentiate energy sources. However, real performances of FC systems still represent a critical issue in the definition of an assessed and economically competitive technology. In fact, FC performances depend on many variables such as temperature, pressure, current, membrane humidification, stoichiometry of the reactant gas, etc.; additionally, many of these influencing parameters depend one on the other, further complicating the analysis. Numerical simulation could greatly contribute to a better understanding of the influence of design parameters. Nevertheless, the availability of experimental data to validate and to verify the numerical models is an imperative issue. The primary target of the research activity described in this paper is the set up of an experimental test bench for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEM FC) at the Department of Mechanical Engineer of the University of Roma Tor Vergata aiming to completely test 8 cells 0.1 kW stack: the measured data are fundamental to validate the numerical models which have been developed by the Authors following different hierarchical levels (both semi-empirical and dimensional analytical approach) with different predictive capabilities. This apparatus allows the control of the reactant gas mass flow rates, stack pressure, humidity, current, temperature and voltage. In this way it is possible to assess a mixed experimental-numerical methodology allowing a tuning procedure for the developed models making a wide use of dedicated experimental data. The preliminary results in terms of comparisons between experimental and computational data show a good agreement even by varying some of the most performance-affecting parameters such as operating pressure and temperature.

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