Measurement of current distribution in a free-breathing PEMFC

M. Noponen, T. Mennola, M. Mikkola, T. Hottinen, P. Lund

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Abstract

A measurement system for the mapping of current distribution in a free-breathing polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is introduced. In the measurement system, the ridges of the flow-field are made of gold-plated stainless steel and the rest of the measurement plate is made of a non-conducting material. The gas diffusion layer is not segmented and the error resulting from this is analyzed computationally. The effect of the cell temperature on the current distribution is studied with the measurement system. It appears that the measurement system is useful for PEMFC characterization and even large spatial variations of current density can be measured with it. According to the results, the optimum operating temperature for the studied cell is around 60 °C without external humidification. In addition, it is concluded that the molecular diffusion is dominating mass transport mechanism at low temperatures but the current density profile is more homogeneous at elevated temperatures. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberPII S0378-7753(01)01063-1
Pages (from-to)304-312
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume106
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2002
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Current distribution
  • Free-breathing cathode
  • Mass transport
  • PEMFC

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