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Issue 6, 2018
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Tipping water balance and the Pt loading effect in polymer electrolyte fuel cells: a model-based analysis

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Abstract

The commercial deployment of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) hinges on breakthroughs in design and integration of highly performing and durable catalyst layers with markedly reduced platinum loading. Experimental studies have shown an unexpected increase in voltage losses upon a drastic reduction in the Pt content. In an effort to unravel this peculiar behavior, an existing physical model of catalyst layers in PEFCs is employed to analyze a wide range of fuel cell performance data from the literature. The analysis reveals correlated trends in key fuel cell parameters. These findings can be explained in view of the tipping water balance that affects the interplay of transport and reaction in catalyst layer and gas diffusion media. This represents a compelling alternative to the widespread ionomer-film hypothesis that links observed power losses at low Pt loading to a mesoscopic oxygen transport resistance. The presented theoretical analysis warrants the definition of a correlation exponent that should find use in assessing the merit of different approaches in catalyst layer fabrication.

Graphical abstract: Tipping water balance and the Pt loading effect in polymer electrolyte fuel cells: a model-based analysis

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 Jan 2018, accepted on 13 Mar 2018 and first published on 24 Mar 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SE00026C
Citation: Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2018,2, 1189-1196
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    Tipping water balance and the Pt loading effect in polymer electrolyte fuel cells: a model-based analysis

    T. Muzaffar, T. Kadyk and M. Eikerling, Sustainable Energy Fuels, 2018, 2, 1189
    DOI: 10.1039/C8SE00026C

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