Understanding the effects of backpressure on PEM fuel cell reactions and performance

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jelechem.2012.09.033
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TypeArticle
Journal titleJournal of Electroanalytical Chemistry
ISSN1572-6657
Volume688
Pages130136; # of pages: 7
SubjectBack pressures; Exchange current densities; Gas partial pressure; Limiting current density; PEM fuel cell; Performance enhancements; Reversible thermodynamics; Semi-empirical approach; Current density; Electric conductivity; Kinetics; Mass transfer; Open circuit voltage; Reaction kinetics; Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)
AbstractThe effects of the operating backpressure on PEM fuel cell reactions and performance are analyzed using both theoretical and semi-empirical approaches. The change in fuel cell operation backpressure can affect the reversible thermodynamic voltage, exchange current density of the electrode reactions, the membrane conductivity, as well as mass transfer limiting current densities. Backpressure can affect the fuel cell open circuit voltage (OCV) by affecting theoretical potential, mixed O2-Pt voltage drop as well as the H 2 crossover induced voltage drop. The magnitude of the fuel cell voltage change with backpressure in both electrode kinetic and mass transfer ranges is determined mainly by both the fuel cell reaction exchange current densities and the mass transfer limiting current densities. Theoretical modeling indicates that when the fuel cell is controlled at a low backpressure or backpressure range, the change in backpressure will lead to a larger fuel cell voltage change than that of a fuel cell controlled at a high backpressure range. Overall, an increase in the fuel cell backpressure will result in a performance enhancement such as higher open circuit voltage, and kinetic cell voltages at higher backpressures. However, negative effects such as high crossover, sealing problems, parasitic power losses, higher cost for compression and enlarged volume of the fuel cell system can occur with a higher operating backpressure. © 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); Energy, Mining and Environment (EME-EME)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21269885
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Record identifier429a41ec-ad2d-48fc-a311-d9d9f477319e
Record created2013-12-13
Record modified2016-05-09
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