Dead-ended anode polymer electrolyte fuel cell stack operation investigated using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, off-gas analysis and thermal imaging

Quentin Meyer, Sean Ashton, Oliver Curnick, Tobias Reisch, Paul Adcock, Krisztian Ronaszegi, James B. Robinson, Daniel J.L. Brett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Dead-ended anode operation, with intermittent purge, is increasingly being used in polymer electrolyte fuel cells as it simplifies the mass flow control of feed and improves fuel efficiency. However, performance is affected through a reduction in voltage during dead-ended operation, particularly at high current density. This study uses electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), off-gas analysis and high resolution thermal imaging to examine the source of performance decay during dead-ended operation. A novel, 'reconstructed impedance' technique is applied to acquire complete EIS spectra with a temporal resolution that allows the dynamics of cell processes to be studied. The results provide evidence that upon entering dead-ended operation, there is an initial increase in performance associated with an increase in anode compartment pressure and improved hydration of the membrane electrolyte. Subsequent reduction in performance is associated with an increase in mass transport losses due to a combination of water management issues and build-up of N2 in the anode. The purge process rapidly recovers performance. Understanding of the processes involved in the dead-end/purge cycle provides a rationale for determining the optimum cycle frequency and duration as a function of current density.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume254
Early online date16 Dec 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dead-ended anode
  • Gas cross-over
  • Multichannel electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
  • Polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC)
  • Reconstructed electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
  • Thermal imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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