Advertisement

Fundamentals of Gas Diffusion Layers in PEM Fuel Cells

  • Virendra K. Mathur
  • Jim Crawford

Abstract

The main components of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell are the gas diffusion layer, membrane and catalyst. Gas diffusion layers (GDLs) are commercially available in various forms such as carbon paper or woven carbon fabrics. These are placed on either side of the membrane in a fuel cell. A GDL should allow the flow of reactant gases H2, air/oxygen and product gases to pass through it. The water formed in a cell should not choke the pores of this paper or fabric and so they are pre-coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which changes the GDL material from hydrophilic to hydrophobic. PTFE is also commonly called Teflon. The platinum catalysts for both the anode and cathode side can be coated on the surface of a GDL. The hydrogen or oxygen reacts in three phases: interface-gas phase (hydrogen or oxygen), liquid phase (water) and solid phase (catalyst). The carbon paper or fabric serves as a structural support for the electrocatalyst layer as well as current collector. Some of the GDLs available on the market are not coated with PTFE and are thinner in size. In such cases, the user has to coat the GDL with PTFE.

Keywords

Fuel Cell Cell Performance Catalyst Layer Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Membrane Electrode Assembly 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allen, R.J., Lindstrom, R. and Juda, W. (1981) Thin Carbon-Cloth-Based Electrocatalytic Gas Diffusion Electrodes, and Electrochemical Cells Comprising the Same, U.S. Patent 4, 293 396, Oct. 6.Google Scholar
  2. Antolini, E., Passos, R.R. and Ticianelli, E.A. (2002) Effect of Carbon Powder Characteristics in the Cathode Gas Diffusion Layer on the Performance of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells, J. Power Sources, 109, 477–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buchi, F.N. and Srinivasan, S. (1997) Operating Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel cells without External Humidification of the Reactant Gases, J. Electrochemical Society, 144, 2767–2772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chu, H., Yeh, C. and Chen, F. (2003) Effects of Porosity Change of Gas Diffuser Performance of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell, J. Power Sources, 123, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fuel Cell Handbook, 1994, fourth edition, B/T Books, CA, USA.Google Scholar
  6. Gamburzev, S. and Appleby A.J. (2002) Recent Progress in Performance Improvement of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC), J. Power Sources, 107, 5–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gasteiger, H.A., Panels, J.E. and Yan, S.G. (2004) Dependence of PEM Fuel Cell Performance on Catalyst Loading, J. Power Sources, 127, 162–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Giorgi, L., Antolini, E., Pozio, A. and Passalacqua, E. (1998) Influence of PTFE content in the Diffusion Layer of Low-Pt Loading Electrodes for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells, Electrochimica Acta, 43, 3675–3680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Glora, M., Wiener, M., Petricevic, R., Probstle, H. and Fricke, J. (2001) Integration of Carbon Aerogels in the PEM Fuel Cells, J. Non-Crystalline Solids, 285, 283–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kato, H. (2000) Gas Diffusion Layer for Solid Electrolyte Fuel Cell, U.S. Patent, 6, 127 059, Oct. 3.Google Scholar
  11. Kong, C.S., Kim, D., Lee, H., Shul, Y. and Lee, T. (2002) Influence of Pore Size Distribution of Gas Diffusion Layer on Mass Transport Problems of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells, J. Power Sources, 108, 185–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Koppula, K.S. (2004) “Study of Gas Diffusion Layers in PEM Fuel Cells”, M.S. Thesis, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, Aug.Google Scholar
  13. Koppula, K.S., Johnston, M.C. and Mathur, V.K. (2004) Study of Gas Diffusion Layers in PEM Fuel Cells, AIChE Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, Nov. 7–12.Google Scholar
  14. Kumar, G.S., Raja, M. and Parthasarathy, S. (1995) High Performance Electrodes with very Low Platinum Loading for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells, Electrochimica Acta, 40, 285–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Larminie, J., Dicks A. (2003) Fuel Cell Systems Explained, John Wiley & Sons, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  16. Lister, S. and McLean, G. (2004) PEM Fuel Cell Electrodes, J. Power Sources, 130, 61–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mathur, V.K., Xie, X. and Crawford, J. (2005) Role of Carbon in a PEM Fuel Cell System, AIChE Spring National Meeting, Atlanta, GA, April 10–14.Google Scholar
  18. Moreira, J., Sebastian, P.J., Ocampo, A.L., Castellanos, R.H., Cano, U. and Salazar, M.D. (2002) Dependence of PEM Fuel Cell Performance on the Configuration of the Gas Diffusion Electrodes, J. New Materials for Electrochemical Systems, 5, 173–175.Google Scholar
  19. Paganin, V.A., Ticianelli, E.A. and Gonzalez, E.R. (1996) Development and Electrochemical Studies of Gas Diffusion Electrodes for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells, J. Applied Electrochemistry, 26, 297–304.Google Scholar
  20. Park, G., Sohn, Y., Yang, T., Yoon, Y., Lee, W. and Kim, C. (2004) Effect of PTFE Contents in the Gas Diffusion Media on the Performance of PEMFC, J. Power Sources, 131, 182–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Passalacqua, E., Lufrano, F., Squadrito, G., Patti, A. and Giorgi, L. (1998) Influence of the Structure in Low-Pt Loading Electrodes for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells, Electrochimica Acta, 43, 3665–3673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Prasanna, M., Ha, H.Y., Cho, E.A., Hong, S. and Oh, I. (2004) Influence of Cathode Gas Diffusion Media on the Performance of the PEMFCs, J. Power Sources, 131, 147–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Qi, Z. and Kaufman, A. (2003) Low Pt Loading High Performance Cathodes for PEM Fuel Cells, J. Power Sources, 113, 37–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Qi, Z. and Kaufman, A. (2002) Improvement of Water Management by a Microporous Sublayer for PEM Fuel Cells, J. Power Sources, 109, 38–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sasikumar, G., Ihm, J.W. and Ryu, H. (2004) Dependence of Optimum Nafion Content in Catalyst Layer on Platinum Loading, J. Power Sources, 132, 11–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Song, J.M., Cha, S.Y. and Lee, W.M. (2001) Optimal Composition of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Electrodes Determined by the AC impedance Method, J. Power Sources, 94, 78–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wilson, M.S., Valerio, J.A. and Gottesfeld, S. (1995) Low Platinum Loading Electrodes for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells Fabricated using Thermoplastic Ionomers, Electrochimica Acta, 40, 355–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Xie, X., Koppula, K.S., Hamblin, T. and Mathur, V.K. (2004) Materials—Key to Hydrogen Economy, AIChE Spring Meeting, New Orleans, LA, April 24–29.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anamaya Publishers, New Delhi, India 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virendra K. Mathur
    • 1
  • Jim Crawford
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Crawford AssociatesRyeUSA

Personalised recommendations