Degradation mechanisms in automotive fuel cells

The degradation mechanisms of each component of the PEM fuel cell stack are presented in this public deliverable with a specific target to automotive fuel cells.

This major deliverable for the project, authored by Frano Barbir is found here.

Available data from the project partners and literature survey leads to the conclusion that the main degradation mechanisms of the cell depend on high number of different variables, such as MEA manufacturing process, assembly, operating conditions, thermal cycling, relative humidity cycling, subfreezing ambient temperature, load cycling, etc. 

General conclusion that came out of this report is that by monitoring and understanding each of the underlying degradation phenomena and modifying the cell design and operating conditions, the remaining useful lifetime of the cell can be significantly prolonged, even under highly transient operating conditions. The analysis and evaluation of the mechanical, chemical and thermal factors contributing to ageing and/or early failure of the balanceofplant components, particularly the air compressor and the humidifier, identified the most critical ageing factors for the conditions of the intended use, i.e., inside the range extender trailer, and identified those that will need to be characterised in laboratory experiments.