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Using Operando Techniques to Understand and Design Alkaline Membrane Fuel Cells with Excellent Performance and Long Operational Stability

Published

Author(s)

Xiong Peng, Devashish Kulkarni, Ying Huang, Travis J. Omasta, Benjamin Ng, Yiwei Zheng, Lianqin Wang, Jacob LaManna, Daniel S. Hussey, John R. Varcoe, Iryna V. Zenyuk, William E. Mustain

Abstract

Operando neutron imaging and operando micro X-ray computed tomography were used to understand the water dynamics of AEMFCs under various operating conditions, and this new fundamental information was used to create electrodes that not only enabled high performance but very long life as well. This work focused on visualizing the spatial and temporal distribution of liquid water in operating cells as well as its effects, including severe ionomer swelling and water accumulation at the anode to undesirably low water content in the cathode. Interestingly, it was found that the operating conditions that led to the highest possible power density during polarization were not generally the conditions that allowed for long-term stable operation. This observation led to new catalyst layer designs and optimization of the gas diffusion layers. As a result, AEMFCs were constructed that could be operated continuously for over 1000 h at 600 mA cm-2 under H2/Air (CO2-free) flows at 65 °C. The voltage decay rate over the life of the test was only 32-μV h-1. This corresponded to 4.6% loss in the operating voltage (0.7 V), which far exceeds the best-reported AEMFC durability reported in the literature to date.
Citation
Nature Communications

Keywords

Anion Exchange Membrane, Fuel Cell, Water, Performance, Durability, Imaging, Tomography

Citation

Peng, X. , Kulkarni, D. , Huang, Y. , Omasta, T. , Ng, B. , Zheng, Y. , Wang, L. , LaManna, J. , Hussey, D. , Varcoe, J. , Zenyuk, I. and Mustain, W. (2020), Using Operando Techniques to Understand and Design Alkaline Membrane Fuel Cells with Excellent Performance and Long Operational Stability, Nature Communications, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=930352 (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created July 16, 2020, Updated October 12, 2021