Effects of Gas Flow Rate and Catalyst Loading on Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (Pem) Fuel Cell Performance and Degradation


In this paper, the effects of gas flow rates, and catalyst loading on polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) performance was investigated using a 50cm2 active area fuel cell fixture with serpentine flow field channels machined into poco graphite blocks. Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) with catalyst and gas flow rates at two levels each (0.5mg/cm2 , 1mg/cm2 ; 0.3L/min, 0.5L/min respectively) were tested at 60°C without humidification. The cell performance was analyzed by taking AC Impedance, TAFEL plot, open circuit voltage, and area specific resistance measurements. It was observed that MEAs with lower gas flow rate had lesser cell resistance compared to MEAs with a higher gas flow rate. TAFEL plot shows the highest exchange current density value of ?2.05 mAcm2 for MEA with 0.5mg/cm2 catalyst loading operated at reactant gas flow rate of 0.3L/min signifying it had the least activation loss and fastest reaction rate. Open circuit voltage curve shows a higher output voltage and lesser voltage decay rate for MEAs tested at higher gas flow rates.

Meeting Name

ASME 2010 8th International Conferences on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Gas Flow; Fuel Cells; Catalysts; Proton Exchange Membranes

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2010 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2010