Final Report - MEA and Stack Durability for PEM Fuel Cells

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Proton exchange membrane fuel cells are expected to change the landscape of power generation over the next ten years. For this to be realized one of the most significant challenges to be met for stationary systems is lifetime, where 40,000 hours of operation with less than 10% decay is desired. This project conducted fundamental studies on the durability of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) and fuel cell stack systems with the expectation that knowledge gained from this project will be applied toward the design and manufacture of MEAs and stack systems to meet DOE’s 2010 stationary fuel cell stack systems targets. ... continued below

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363 Pages

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Yandrasits, Michael A. February 15, 2008.

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Description

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells are expected to change the landscape of power generation over the next ten years. For this to be realized one of the most significant challenges to be met for stationary systems is lifetime, where 40,000 hours of operation with less than 10% decay is desired. This project conducted fundamental studies on the durability of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) and fuel cell stack systems with the expectation that knowledge gained from this project will be applied toward the design and manufacture of MEAs and stack systems to meet DOE’s 2010 stationary fuel cell stack systems targets. The focus of this project was PEM fuel cell durability – understanding the issues that limit MEA and fuel cell system lifetime, developing mitigation strategies to address the lifetime issues and demonstration of the effectiveness of the mitigation strategies by system testing. To that end, several discoveries were made that contributed to the fundamental understanding of MEA degradation mechanisms. (1) The classically held belief that membrane degradation is solely due to end-group “unzipping” is incorrect; there are other functional groups present in the ionomer that are susceptible to chemical attack. (2) The rate of membrane degradation can be greatly slowed or possibly eliminated through the use of additives that scavenge peroxide or peroxyl radicals. (3) Characterization of GDL using dry gases is incorrect due to the fact that fuel cells operate utilizing humidified gases. The proper characterization method involves using wet gas streams and measuring capillary pressure as demonstrated in this project. (4) Not all Platinum on carbon catalysts are created equally – the major factor impacting catalyst durability is the type of carbon used as the support. (5) System operating conditions have a significant impact of lifetime – the lifetime was increased by an order of magnitude by changing the load profile while all other variables remain the same. (6) Through the use of statistical lifetime analysis methods, it is possible to develop new MEAs with predicted durability approaching the DOE 2010 targets. (7) A segmented cell was developed that extend the resolution from ~ 40 to 121 segments for a 50cm2 active area single cell which allowed for more precise investigation of the local phenomena in a operating fuel cell. (8) The single cell concept was extended to a fuel size stack to allow the first of its kind monitoring and mapping of an operational fuel cell stack. An internal check used during this project involved evaluating the manufacturability of any new MEA component. If a more durable MEA component was developed in the lab, but could not be scaled-up to ‘high speed, high volume manufacturing’, then that component was not selected for the final MEA-fuel cell system demonstration. It is the intent of the team to commercialize new products developed under this project, but commercialization can not occur if the manufacture of said new components is difficult or if the price is significantly greater than existing products as to make the new components not cost competitive. Thus, the end result of this project is the creation of MEA and fuel cell system technology that is capable of meeting the DOEs 2010 target of 40,000 hours for stationary fuel cell systems (although this lifetime has not been demonstrated in laboratory or field testing yet) at a cost that is economically viable for the developing fuel cell industry. We have demonstrated over 2,000 hours of run time for the MEA and system developed under this project.

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363 Pages

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  • Report No.: DOE/GO/13098-1
  • Grant Number: FC36-03GO13098
  • DOI: 10.2172/923720 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 923720
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc895193

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  • February 15, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Oct. 31, 2016, 7:01 p.m.

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Yandrasits, Michael A. Final Report - MEA and Stack Durability for PEM Fuel Cells, report, February 15, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc895193/: accessed July 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.