Image Number 3 for United States Patent #7147945.
The invention is a system (10) and method for determining a gas composition within a fuel cell (12) of a shut down fuel cell power plant. The system (10) includes at least one fuel cell (12), a sensor circuit (86) secured in electrical connection with the fuel cell (12), wherein the circuit (86) includes a power source (88), a voltage-measuring device (90), and a sensor circuit switch (92). The circuit (86) is secured so that the power source (88) may selectively deliver a pre-determined sensing current to the fuel cell (12) for a pre-determined sensing duration. The system (10) selectively admits the reducing fluid into an anode flow field (28) of the cell (12) whenever the sensor circuit (86) senses that a shut down monitoring voltage of the fuel cell (12) is the same as or exceeds a calibrated sensor voltage limit of the fuel cell (12).