Fuel cell degradation and defects are factors that prohibit the commercialization of fuel cells. To understand how fuel cells may degrade, they are tested with and without defects to simulate real world applications. By analyzing degradation patterns of a fuel cell stack, operating conditions and geometry within a stack can be optimized. Preliminary work analyzed a three-cell stack of healthy polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) under steady state conditions for four weeks. The voltage, resistance and water production of this stack were monitored each day to characterize degradation and aging. Further efforts utilized theoretical modeling to predict fuel cell performance of a single cell.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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