Long-Term Durability of PBI-Based HT-PEM Fuel Cells: Effect of Operating Parameters

Tonny Søndergaard, Lars Nilausen Cleemann*, Hans Becker, Thomas Steenberg, Hans Aage Hjuler, Larisa Seerup, Qingfeng Li, Jens Oluf Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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This work studies the long-term durability of high-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells based on acid-doped polybenzimidazole membranes. The primary focus is on acid loss via the evaporation mechanism, which is a major cause of degradation in applications that involve long-term operation. Durability is assessed for 16 identically fabricated membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs), and evaluations are carried out using operating parameters as stressors with gas stoichiometries ranging from 2 to 25, current densities from 200 to 800 mA cm(-2), and temperatures of 160 or 180 degrees C. Cell diagnostics are composed of time resolved polarization curves, post mortem analysis, and in situ temperature measurements. A major part of the cell degradation during these steady-state tests can be ascribed to increasing area-specific series resistance. By means of post mortem acid-loss measurements, the degradation is correlated to the temperature and to the accumulated gas-flow volume. Such relations are indicative of acid loss via evaporation. Current density also plays a critical role for the acid loss and, thus, for the overall cell degradation. The effect of current is likely tied to mechanisms that involve water generation, migration of electrolyte ions, and locally elevated temperature inside the MEAs. (C) The Author(s) 2018. Published by ECS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)F3053-F3062
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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