Transient carbon monoxide poisoning of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell operating on diluted hydrogen feed

Krishan Kumar Bhatia, Chao Yang Wang

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The transient behavior of a 50cm2 PEM fuel cell fed on simulated reformate containing diluted hydrogen and trace quantities of carbon monoxide (CO) was experimentally investigated. It was found that the overall cell performance throughout the CO poisoning process can be described with a lumped model of hydrogen and CO adsorption, desorption, and electro-oxidation coupled with a current-voltage relationship for fuel cell performance. It was shown that while hydrogen dilution alone does not have an appreciable effect on cell polarization, in the presence of trace amounts of CO, hydrogen dilution amplifies the problem of CO poisoning. This is a result of the diluent reducing the partial pressure of reactants in the anode fed stream, thus retarding the already CO-impaired hydrogen adsorption onto the catalyst surface. In a diluted hydrogen stream, even low CO concentrations (i.e. 10ppm), which are traditionally considered safe for PEM fuel cell operation, were found to be harmful to cell performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2333-2341
Number of pages9
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jun 15 2004


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Electrochemistry

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