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Introduction to Electrolyzers

Electrolyzers use electricity to break water into hydrogen and oxygen. The electrolysis of water occurs through an electrochemical reaction that does not require external components or moving parts. It is very reliable and can produce ultra-pure hydrogen (> 99.999%) in a non-polluting manner when...

Fuel Cell Gaskets, Spacers, and End Plates

Most people wouldn’t think that much thought needs to be put into fuel cell components such as fuel cell gaskets, spacers, and end plates, however, every part of the fuel cell stack requires careful consideration. Incorrect fuel cell gaskets and end plates can lead to gas leaks and insufficient fuel cell stack...

Materials Used for High-Temperature Fuel Cells

In a previous blog post, we described bipolar plates and the associated materials for low-temperature fuel cells. The materials previously described are selected for fuel cell stacks at or slightly above room-temperature -- which means that the materials are chemically compatible with the stack between 0 – 140 °C. The fuel cells that operate at higher temperatures require...

Low-Temperature Bipolar Plates

Each component of the fuel cell must be designed properly – otherwise, you run the risk of decreasing fuel cell performance. The bipolar plates are termed “bipolar” because they have flow fields on both sides. This design is very convenient when you have membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) on both sides. In a fuel cell with a...

Techniques for Measuring Fuel Cell Resistance

The fuel cell polarization curve provides useful information on fuel cell performance, however; additional information is needed to study its performance characteristics accurately. Cell resistance provides insightful information about a fuel cell that is not completely captured by polarization curves. Since fuel cell current densities are high in comparison with...

Water Management For PEM Fuel Cells

One of the greatest challenges associated with PEMFCs is the water balance in the fuel cell stack. As the chemical reaction occurs in each cell, water is generated. Depending upon the load and the operating conditions, there is a tendency for the fuel cells to both flood and dry-out. The water content in the...

Fuel Cell Characterization

Different characterization techniques enable the quantitative comparison of every property and part of the fuel cell stack. By characterizing the fuel cell properly, you can understand why the fuel cell is performing well or poorly. These techniques help discriminate between activation, ohmic and concentration losses, fuel crossover, and...

Fuel Cell Operating Conditions

Fuel cell operating conditions depend upon the cell and stack design. The operating parameters that affect fuel cell performance are: Operating Pressure, Operating Temperature, Flow Rates of Reactants, and Humidity of Reactants. Using the correct operating condition for each parameter is...

Considerations for Micro and MEMs Fuel Cells

The design elements of a micro or MEMs fuel cell stack are the same as a larger fuel cell stack, except that there should be special considerations for...

The Fuel Cell Electrolyte Layer for Low-Temperature Fuel Cells

The electrolyte layer is essential for a fuel cell to work properly. In low-temperature fuel cells, when the fuel in the fuel cell travels to the catalyst layer, the fuel molecule gets broken into protons (H+) and electrons. The electrons travel to the external circuit to power the load, and the hydrogen proton (ions) travel through the electrolyte until it reaches...

Low-Temperature Fuel Cell Membrane Electrode Assembly Processing Techniques

The fuel cell stack consists of many layers, including: The Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA), Gaskets, Flow field plates, and End plates.  There are two standard methods of assembling the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) in low-temperature fuel cells. The catalyst layer can be applied in one or two steps. For the first method, there are five common ways to prepare and apply the catalyst for the GDL/catalyst assembly:

Characteristics and Safety of Hydrogen

Hydrogen has many unusual characteristics compared with other elements. Some of these interesting and unusual characteristics include...Table 1 compares relevant properties of hydrogen, methane, methanol, ethanol, propane, and gasoline—all of which can be used as fuel for fuel cells.

Gas Diffusion Layer Comparison Chart

Gas Diffusion Layers (GDL) are one of the components in different types of fuel cells including, but not limited, to Proton Exchange Membrane and Direct Methanol fuel cells. Gas Diffusion Layers serve to provide conductivity in the cell and control the contact between the reactant gases and the catalyst. This layer also aids in managing the water transport out of the membrane. Another essential function of a GDL is to provide a connection between the membrane electrode assembly and graphite plates in the fuel cell stack.