In situ measurement of active catalyst surface area in fuel cell stacks

E. Brightman, G. Hinds, R. O'Malley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Measurement of electrochemical surface area (ECSA) of fuel cell electrodes is a key diagnostic of performance and gives a useful parameter for monitoring degradation and state of health in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). However, conventional methods for determining ECSA require potentiostatic control of the cell, which is impractical in a fuel cell stack. Here we demonstrate for the first time the practical application of a galvanostatic technique that enables in situ monitoring of ECSA in each cell throughout the lifetime of a stack. The concept is demonstrated at single cell level using both H adsorption and CO stripping, and the H adsorption (cathodic current) method is extended to stack testing. The undesirable effects of H 2 crossover on the measurement may be minimised by appropriate selection of current density and by working with dilute H2 on the anode electrode. Good agreement is achieved with ECSA values determined using conventional single cell voltammetry across a range of MEA designs. The technique is straightforward to implement and provides an invaluable tool for state of health monitoring during PEMFC stack lifetime studies.

LanguageEnglish
Pages244-254
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume242
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2013

Fingerprint

in situ measurement
fuel cells
Fuel cells
catalysts
Catalysts
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)
cells
health
Monitoring
Health
electrolytes
membranes
Adsorption
life (durability)
Electrodes
adsorption
electrodes
polymers
Carbon Monoxide
Voltammetry

Keywords

  • electrochemical surface area
  • fuel cells
  • galvanostatic measurement
  • in situ
  • PEMFC stack

Cite this

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In situ measurement of active catalyst surface area in fuel cell stacks. / Brightman, E.; Hinds, G.; O'Malley, R.

In: Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 242, 30.11.2013, p. 244-254.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

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AU - Brightman, E.

AU - Hinds, G.

AU - O'Malley, R.

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N2 - Measurement of electrochemical surface area (ECSA) of fuel cell electrodes is a key diagnostic of performance and gives a useful parameter for monitoring degradation and state of health in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). However, conventional methods for determining ECSA require potentiostatic control of the cell, which is impractical in a fuel cell stack. Here we demonstrate for the first time the practical application of a galvanostatic technique that enables in situ monitoring of ECSA in each cell throughout the lifetime of a stack. The concept is demonstrated at single cell level using both H adsorption and CO stripping, and the H adsorption (cathodic current) method is extended to stack testing. The undesirable effects of H 2 crossover on the measurement may be minimised by appropriate selection of current density and by working with dilute H2 on the anode electrode. Good agreement is achieved with ECSA values determined using conventional single cell voltammetry across a range of MEA designs. The technique is straightforward to implement and provides an invaluable tool for state of health monitoring during PEMFC stack lifetime studies.

AB - Measurement of electrochemical surface area (ECSA) of fuel cell electrodes is a key diagnostic of performance and gives a useful parameter for monitoring degradation and state of health in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). However, conventional methods for determining ECSA require potentiostatic control of the cell, which is impractical in a fuel cell stack. Here we demonstrate for the first time the practical application of a galvanostatic technique that enables in situ monitoring of ECSA in each cell throughout the lifetime of a stack. The concept is demonstrated at single cell level using both H adsorption and CO stripping, and the H adsorption (cathodic current) method is extended to stack testing. The undesirable effects of H 2 crossover on the measurement may be minimised by appropriate selection of current density and by working with dilute H2 on the anode electrode. Good agreement is achieved with ECSA values determined using conventional single cell voltammetry across a range of MEA designs. The technique is straightforward to implement and provides an invaluable tool for state of health monitoring during PEMFC stack lifetime studies.

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