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Frontiers in Energy

Front. Energy    2019, Vol. 13 Issue (2) : 325-338     https://doi.org/10.1007/s11708-019-0618-y
REVIEW ARTICLE
A comprehensive assessment on the durability of gas diffusion electrode materials in PEM fuel cell stack
Arunkumar JAYAKUMAR()
Mechanical Engineering Department, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland 1142, New Zealand; Department of Mechatronics Engineering, Chennai Institute of Technology, Chennai 600069, India
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Abstract

Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell is the most promising among the various types of fuel cells. Though it has found its applications in numerous fields, the cost and durability are key barriers impeding the commercialization of PEM fuel cell stack. The crucial and expensive component involved in it is the gas diffusion electrode (GDE) and its degradation, which limits the performance and life of the fuel cell stack. A critical analysis and comprehensive understanding of the structural and functional properties of various materials involved in the GDE can help us to address the related durability and cost issues. This paper reviews the key GDE components, and in specific, the root causes influencing the durability. It also envisages the role of novel materials and provides a critical recommendation to improve the GDE durability.

Keywords PEM fuel cell      gas diffusion electrode(GDE)      gas diffusion layer(GDL)      membrane electrode assembly      durability      fuel cell catalyst     
Corresponding Authors: Arunkumar JAYAKUMAR   
Online First Date: 24 April 2019    Issue Date: 04 July 2019
 Cite this article:   
Arunkumar JAYAKUMAR. A comprehensive assessment on the durability of gas diffusion electrode materials in PEM fuel cell stack[J]. Front. Energy, 2019, 13(2): 325-338.
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http://journal.hep.com.cn/fie/EN/10.1007/s11708-019-0618-y
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fie/EN/Y2019/V13/I2/325
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Fig.1  A plan of PEM fuel cell (single cell) indicating electron and proton transfer
Fig.2  Volcano plots showing the trends in oxygen reduction activity as a function of the oxygen binding energy
Fig.3  Functional plan of key GDE component and cross sectional view of GDE
Fig.4  Mechanisms of Pt degradation
Electrochemical degradation Mechanical degradation
Carbon oxidation Clamping pressure
Low relative humidity and high temperature Reactant flow (predominantly humidified)
High voltage accelerate carbon oxidation High temperature
Tab.1  Snapshot on GDL degradation factors
Cathode catalyst Net ECSA/(m2·g?1 Pt) Total degradation/%
Pt/Vulcan XC72 13.36 21.7
Pt/SiC 13.20 1.27
Pt/SiCTiC 12.98 6.08
Tab.2  Evolution of ECSA obtained from H2 desorption peak of cyclic voltammetry performed during the different protocol tests
Parameter Material/value References
keff/(W·(mK)?1) Graphite matrix/150.6 [105]
Carbon paper/1.6 [106,107]
Carbon fiber paper/1.3 [108]
Carbon paper/0.1 to 1.6 [109]
Toray carbon paper
1.8 ± 0.27 at 26oC
1.24 ± 0.19 at 73oC
[110]
Diffusion and CL
0.2 ± 0.1
[111]
Tab.3  Effective thermal conductivities of the GDL-review
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