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Title: Recent Advances in Catalyst Accelerated Stress Tests for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) set the 2020 durability target for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell transportation applications at 5000 hours. Since it is impractical to test every fuel cell for this length of time, there is ever increasing interest in developing accelerated stress tests (ASTs) that can accurately simulate the material component degradation in the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) observed under automotive operating conditions, but over a much shorter time frame. In this study, a square-wave catalyst AST was examined that shows a 5X time acceleration factor over the triangle-wave catalyst AST and a 25X time acceleration factor over the modified wet drive-cycle catalyst durability protocol, significantly decreasing the testing time. These acceleration factors were correlated to the platinum (Pt) particle size increase and associated decrease in electrochemical surface area (ECSA). This square-wave AST has been adopted by the DOE as a standard protocol to evaluate catalyst durability. We also compare three catalyst-durability protocols using state-of-the-art platinum-cobalt catalysts supported on high surface area carbon (SOA Pt-Co/HSAC) in the cathode catalyst layer. The results for each of the three tests showed both catalyst particle size increase and transition metal leaching. Moreover the acceleration factors for the alloy catalysts weremore » smaller due to Co leaching being the predominant mechanism of voltage decay in ~5 nm PtCo/C catalysts. Finally, an extremely harsh carbon corrosion AST was run using the same SOA Pt-Co/HSAC catalyst. This showed minimal change in particle size and a low percentage Co loss from the cathode catalyst particles, despite a significant loss in catalyst layer thickness and cell performance. The carbon corrosion rates during these various ASTs were directly measured by monitoring the CO 2 emission from the cathode, further confirming the ability of the square-wave AST to evaluate the electro-catalyst independently of the support.« less
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  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Science (CNMS)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; AC02-05CH11231; FC-PAD
Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of the Electrochemical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 165; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651
The Electrochemical Society
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Office (EE-3F); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22). Scientific User Facilities Division; USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), Fuel Cycle Technologies (NE-5)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1441339