International Journal of Energy Research, Vol.44, No.1, 370-387, 2020
Effect of cell compression on the performance of a non-hot-pressed MEA for PEMFC
In this study, the effect of cell compression on the performance of a non-hot-pressed membrane electrode assembly (MEA) for a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is presented. The MEA is made without hot pressing, by carefully placing the gas diffusion electrodes (GDEs) and a membrane in a fuel cell fixture. Cell performance is assessed at five different compression ratios between 3.6% and 47.8%. It has been shown that ohmic resistance of the cell, mass transport resistance of reactants, charge transfer resistance at electrode, and overall cell performance are strongly dependent on the cell compression. On increasing the cell compression gradually, cell performance improves initially, reaches the best, and then deteriorates. The cell performance is assessed at fully humidified condition and at dry condition. Optimum cell performances are obtained at compression ratios of 14.2% and 25.7% for 100% relative humidity (RH) and 50% RH, respectively. It is also found that the cell with proper compression and at fully humidified conditions can deliver similar performance to a conventional hot-pressed MEA. Finally, it is shown that after the tests, GDEs can be peeled out, and the membrane inspection can be done as a postexperimental analysis.