A review of performance degradation and failure modes for hydrogen-fuelled polymer electrolyte fuel cells

2008-11-11T10:04:07Z (GMT) by Pratap Rama Rui Chen J.D. Andrews
A qualitative account of the causes and effects of performance degradation and failure in hydrogen-fuelled polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) is given in the present review. The purpose of the review is to establish a backbone understanding of the phenomenological processes that occur within the PEFC, how they interact, how they are influenced through elements of design, manufacturing and operation, and ultimately how they result in performance degradation and cell failure. In the current work, 22 common faults are identified which are induced by 48 frequent causes. The major PEFC components considered here that are susceptible to faults are the polymer electrolyte-based membrane, the anode and cathode catalyst layers, gas diffusion and microporous layers, seals and the bipolar plate. Faults pertaining to these components can cause irreversible increases in activation, mass transportation, ohmic and fuel efficiency losses, or indeed cause catastrophic cell failure.