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Title: Effect of System Contaminants on the Performance of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

The performance loss and recovery of the fuel cell due to Balance of Plant (BOP) contaminants was identified via a combination of experimental data and a mathematical model. The experiments were designed to study the influence of organic contaminants (e.g. those from BOP materials) on the resistance of the catalyst, ionomer and membrane, and a mathematical model was developed that allowed us to separate these competing resistances from the data collected on an operating fuel cell. For this reason, based on the functional groups, four organic contaminants found in BOP materials, diethylene glycol monoethyl ether (DGMEE), diethylene glycol monoethyl ether acetate (DGMEA), benzyl alcohol (BzOH) and 2,6-diaminotoluene (2,6-DAT) were infused separately to the cathode side of the fuel cell. The cell voltage and high frequency impedance resistance was measured as a function of time. The contaminant feed was then discontinued and voltage recovery was measured. It was determined that compounds with ion exchange properties like 2,6-DAT can cause voltage loss with non-reversible recovery, so this compound was studied in more detail. Finally, the degree of voltage loss increased with an increase in concentration, and/or infusion time, and increased with a decrease in catalyst loadings.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia, SC (United States). Dept. of Chemical Engineering
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of the Electrochemical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 163; Journal Issue: 14; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651
The Electrochemical Society
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Office (EE-3F)
Country of Publication:
United States
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; balance of plant material (BOP); contamination; durability; ionomer; modeling; organic model compound; PEMFC
OSTI Identifier: