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A proposed agglomerate model for oxygen reduction in the catalyst layer of proton exchange membrane fuel cells

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journal contribution
posted on 05.01.2015, 11:25 by Xiaoxian Zhang, Yuan Gao, Hossein Ostadi, Kyle Jiang, Rui Chen
Oxygen diffusion and reduction in the catalyst layer of PEM fuel cell is an important process in fuel cell modelling, but models able to link the reduction rate to catalyst-layer structure are lack; this paper makes such an effort. We first link the average reduction rate over the agglomerate within a catalyst layer to a probability that an oxygen molecule, which is initially on the agglomerate surface, will enter and remain in the agglomerate at any time in the absence of any electrochemical reaction. We then propose a method to directly calculate distribution function of this probability and apply it to two catalyst layers with contrasting structures. A formula is proposed to describe these calculated distribution functions, from which the agglomerate model is derived. The model has two parameters and both can be independently calculated from catalyst layer structures. We verify the model by first showing that it is an improvement and able to reproduce what the spherical model describes, and then testing it against the average oxygen reductions directly calculated from pore-scale simulations of oxygen diffusion and reaction in the two catalyst layers. The proposed model is simple, but significant as it links the average oxygen reduction to catalyst layer structures, and its two parameters can be directly calculated rather than by calibration.


Part of this research was supported by the UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB Project No. TP/6/S/K3032H).



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Published in

Electrochimica Acta




1 - 37 (37)


ZHANG, X. ... et al, 2014. A proposed agglomerate model for oxygen reduction in the catalyst layer of proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Electrochimica Acta, 150, pp.320–328.


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AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Electrochimica Acta. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published at: