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Research Papers

Characterization of Gas Diffusion Electrodes for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Pozio1

 ENEA Casaccia Research Center, Via Anguillarese 301, 00123 Santa Maria di Galeria, Rome 00060, Italyalfonso.pozio@casaccia.enea.it

A. Cemmi, M. Carewska, C. Paoletti, F. Zaza

 ENEA Casaccia Research Center, Via Anguillarese 301, 00123 Santa Maria di Galeria, Rome 00060, Italy

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(4), 041003 (Apr 05, 2010) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3119061 History: Received November 28, 2007; Revised March 03, 2009; Published April 05, 2010; Online April 05, 2010

Gas diffusion electrodes (GDEs), applied in polymer electrolyte fuel cells, are composed of a multilayer structure containing porous carbon materials and noble metal catalyst. Gas diffusion layer (GDL), a GDE component, consists of a thin layer of carbon black mixed with an organic binder, frequently polytetrafluoroethylene, which is coated onto a sheet of macroporous carbon backing cloth or paper. GDL serves as a current collector that allows ready access of fuel and oxidant to the anode and the cathode catalyst surfaces, respectively. In this work, a complete GDL state-of-the-art is first presented. Then, the effects of different fabrication methods and composition of gas diffusion layer are investigated and discussed in the light of gas permeability, thermal analysis, morphology, and electrical resistance. Besides, performances in H2/air fed cell at 50°C in different humidity conditions were discussed, and a comparison with own products and commercial GDLs was carried out. It was found that the different preparation methods influence the GDL properties, allowing the most suitable choice depending on the cell humidity conditions.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of GDE structure in PEFCs

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Figure 2

Water distribution in the GDL pores (A-, B-, and C-types)

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Figure 3

Optical images (4×) for in-house and commercial GDLs: (a) spraying, (b) hand coating, (c) rolling, (d) SGL BC 31, and (e) Carbel Gore

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Figure 4

FEG-SEM micrographs (80K×) of (a) in-house rolled GDL and (b) Carbel Gore GDL

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Figure 5

FEG-SEM images (200×) of different carbon papers: (a) Carbel Gore, (b) SGL, and (c) Toray

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Figure 6

TGA/DTA of different carbon papers: (---) Toray, (—) SGL, and (–⋅–) Carbel Gore

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Figure 7

TGA of Carbel Gore GDL and those of its components (MPL and carbon paper)

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Figure 8

DTA of Carbel Gore GDL and those of its components (MPL and carbon paper)

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Figure 9

Air permeability (Gurley method) results of commercial GDLs (SGL BC 31; Carbel Gore) and in-house GLDs (spray deposition and rolling with different % PTFEs)

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Figure 10

Resistivity results of commercial GDLs (SGL BC 31; Carbel Gore) and in-house GLDs (spray deposition and rolling with different % PTFEs)

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Figure 11

Single-cell tests (2 cm2, H2/air); polarization curves at low humidity (Tcell=50°C, Tanode=25°C, and Tcathode=25°C)

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Figure 12

Single-cell tests (2 cm2, H2/air); polarization curves at medium humidity (Tcell=50°C, Tanode=60°C, and Tcathode=25°C)

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Figure 13

Single-cell tests (2 cm2, H2/air); polarization curves at high humidity (Tcell=50°C, Tanode=60°C, and Tcathode=55°C)

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Figure 14

Single-cell tests (2 cm2, H2/air); polarization curves of in-house sprayed and rolled GDLs at Tcell=80°C, Tanode=70°C, and Tcathode=70°C

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