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Energy, Vol.186, 2019
Comparison of performance degradation of high temperature PEM fuel cells with different bipolar plates
Applying metallic bipolar plates on high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells, which are practical for stationary applications, is a considerable option to reduce the cost and to improve the specific power of this type of fuel cell. To understand the life issue of the high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells with metallic bipolar plates, the performance degradation phenomena with graphite, uncoated 304 stainless steel, and gold coated 304 stainless steel bipolar plates are studied and compared. The experimental results show that the order of performance degradation rate is uncoated 304 stainless steel > gold coated 304 stainless steel graphite. The faster performance degradation of the high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells with uncoated 304 stainless steel bipolar plates can be attributed to the dramatic increase in the ohmic resistance, which is due to the formation of ferric oxide and iron phosphate on the metal surface. In addition, gold coating peels off from the stainless steel bipolar plate after a 432-hr operation. A coating layer with an improved life is still needed to further extend the operating life of this type of fuel cell. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.