During startup from subzero temperatures the water produced in a polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) forms ice/frost in the cathode catalyst layer (CL), blocking the oxygen transport and causing cell shutdown once all CL pores are plugged with ice. This paper describes an experimental study on the effects of operating and design parameters on PEFC cold-start capability. The amount of total product water in mg cm-2 during startup is used as an index to quantify the cold-start capability. The newly developed isothermal cold-start protocol is used to explore the basic physics of cold start, and the effects of purge methods prior to cold start, startup temperature and current density, and the membrane thickness are shown. The experimental data also confirm the current density effect predicted earlier by a multiphase model of PEFC cold start.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering