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Research Papers

Electrical Performance of PEM Fuel Cells With Different Gas Diffusion Layers

[+] Author and Article Information
P. Gallo Stampino, L. Omati, G. Dotelli

Dipartimento di Chimica, Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica “G. Natta,” Politecnico di Milano, piazza L. da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(4), 041005 (Mar 28, 2011) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003630 History: Received March 15, 2010; Revised December 20, 2010; Published March 28, 2011; Online March 28, 2011

The microporous layer (MPL) is a key component of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEM-FCs), and it is in charge of the gas and water management at the electrode-gas diffusion layer (GDL) interfaces. A MPL was prepared and coated onto two different commercial GDLs: a carbon paper (woven-non-woven (WNW)) and a carbon cloth (CC). Electrical performances of the so-obtained gas diffusion media (GDM), i.e., GDL coated with the MPL, were investigated in single cell testing (steady-state polarization curves) using a Nafion® catalyst coated membrane with a platinum loading of 0.5mg/cm2 both for the anode and the cathode. Moreover, in order to better understand the polarization phenomena during the running of the FC, impedance spectroscopy was carried out in galvanostatic mode at different current densities. In particular, the effect of the air relative humidity (RH 100%, 80%, and 60%) was investigated, while the hydrogen was fed always fully humidified (100%). The WNW substrate has demonstrated to be superior to CC in a vast range of current densities (from open circuit voltage to 0.8A/cm2). However, at high current density, the WNW GDM has some problems in water management.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Polarization and power density curves for samples CC12 and WNW12; single fuel cell with a MEA active area of 25 cm2 operated at 60°C, ambient pressure, flow rates of 0.2–1.0 Nl/min (H2-air), and fully humidified gases

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Figure 2

Polarization and power density curves for samples CC12 and WNW12; single fuel cell with a MEA active area of 25 cm2 operated at 60°C, ambient pressure, flow rates of 0.2–1.0 Nl/min (H2-air), and RH: H2 100%-air 80%

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Figure 3

Polarization and power density curves for samples CC12 and WNW12; single fuel cell with a MEA active area of 25 cm2 operated at 60°C, ambient pressure, flow rates of 0.2–1.0 Nl/min (H2-air), and RH: H2 100%-air 60%

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Figure 4

Impedance spectra of the running cell with the CC12 GDM operating at 0.1 A/cm2, 60°C, ambient pressure, flow rates of 0.2–1.0 Nl/min (H2-air) at three different air RHs: 100%, 80%, and 60%, and H2RH=100%

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Figure 5

Impedance spectra of the running cell with the WNW12 GDM operating at 0.1 A/cm2, 60°C, ambient pressure, flow rates of 0.2–1.0 Nl/min (H2-air) at three different air RHs: 100%, 80%, and 60%, and H2RH=100%

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Figure 6

Impedance spectra of the running cell with the CC12 GDM operating at 0.9 A/cm2, 60°C, ambient pressure, flow rates of 0.2–1.0 Nl/min (H2-air) at three different air RHs: 100%, 80%, and 60%, and H2RH=100%

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Figure 7

Impedance spectra of the running cell with the WNW12 GDM operating at 0.9 A/cm2, 60°C, ambient pressure, flow rates of 0.2–1.0 Nl/min (H2-air) at three different air RHs: 100%, 80%, and 60%, and H2RH=100%

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Figure 8

Equivalent circuits adopted for fitting the impedance spectra (a) for low current densities and (b) for high current density values

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Figure 9

Comparison between Ohmic resistance (Rs) of GDM CC12 and WNW12 tested under different relative humidity conditions: 100% H2 and 100-80-60% air

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Figure 10

Comparison between polarization resistance (Rp) of GDMCC12 and WNW12 tested under different relative humidity conditions: 100% H2 and 100-80-60% air

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Figure 11

Comparison between diffusion resistance (Rd) of GDM CC12 and WNW12 tested under different relative humidity conditions: 100% H2 and 100-80-60% air

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