Anode materials for mitigating hydrogen starvation effects in PEM fuel cells

Ion C. Halalay, Swathy Swathirajan, Belabbes Merzougui, Michael P. Balogh, Gregory C. Garabedian, Michael K. Carpenter

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Localized hydrogen starvation at a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell anode can lead to the formation of local cells in the membrane electrode assembly, which cause performance degradation at the fuel cell cathode due to carbon corrosion. We propose using hydrogen spillover materials as a hydrogen reservoir in the fuel cell anode in order to compensate for any temporary proton deficit caused by local flooding of the anode channels. We tested composite electrodes containing Ti O2, W Si2, and W O3, and compared their behavior to that of commercial Pt/Vulcan XC-72 carbon (Pt/Vu) benchmark catalysts, using gas-diffusion electrodes in a 0.1 M HCl O 4 solution and pellet electrodes in a 0.5 M H2 S O 4 solution. While Ti O2 yields no benefits, both W Si 2 and W O3 can significantly delay the voltage excursion of the gas-diffusion electrode into the oxygen evolution region upon the cessation of hydrogen flow. X-ray data indicate that the beneficial effect of W Si2 may be caused by W O3, because we observed conversion of W Si2 to W O3 during voltage cycling, without a significant loss in the apparent hydrogen adsorption-desorption area. Electrodes with W O3 yielded the best results, with a hydrogen storage charge higher by a factor of 6 than for the Pt/Vu benchmark.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)B313-B321
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

Cite this

Halalay, I. C., Swathirajan, S., Merzougui, B., Balogh, M. P., Garabedian, G. C., & Carpenter, M. K. (2011). Anode materials for mitigating hydrogen starvation effects in PEM fuel cells. Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 158(3), B313-B321.