Parameters influencing long term performance and durability of PEM fuel cells

Şayin, Elif Seda
Fuel cells are the tools which convert chemical energy into electricity directly by the effective utilization of hydrogen and oxygen (or air). One of the most important barriers for the fuel cell commercialization is the durability of the fuel cell components in the long term operations. In this study, the durability of the PEM fuel cell electrocatalysts were investigated via cyclic voltammetry (CV) and rotating disk electrode (RDE) experiments in order to determine the hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) which corresponds to the half cell reactions in the fuel cell. PEM fuel cell electrodes mainly composed of carbon supported Pt catalysts. In long term operations due to Pt dissolution and carbon corrosion some properties of the electrocatalysts can be changed. Performance losses in catalysts mainly depend on; i) decrease in the total metal surface area (SA) and the electrochemically active surface area (ESA) due to the increase in the particle size ii) decrease in the tafel slope potential in ORR and iii) increase in carbon corrosion. In this study, these properties were examined via accelerated degradation tests performed in CV and RDE. The catalysts having different Pt loadings, synthesized with different ink compositions, pH values and microwave durations were investigated. The commercial catalysts having Pt loadings of 20, 50 and 70 (wt %) were tried and best results were obtained for Pt/V (50 wt %) catalyst. Different carbon to Nafion® ratios of 4, 8, 12 in the ink composition were tried. C/N ratio of 8 gave the best result in Pt dissolution and carbon corrosion degradation tests. The catalysts prepared at different pH values of 1.4, 6.25 and 10 were tried and the catalyst prepared at pH of 10 was less degraded in Pt dissolution test and the catalyst prepared at pH of 6.25 showed better resistance to carbon corrosion. Catalysts prepared under different microwave durations of 50, 60 and 120 s were tried and the catalyst prepared at 60 s gave the best performances.
Citation Formats
E. S. Şayin, “Parameters influencing long term performance and durability of PEM fuel cells,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2011.