Development of a Durable Startup Procedure for PEMFCs

고분자전해질 연료전지 내구성 향상을 위한 시동 기술 개발에 관한 연구

  • 김재홍 (한국과학기술연구원 연료전지연구단) ;
  • 조유연 (한국과학기술연구원 연료전지연구단) ;
  • 장종현 (한국과학기술연구원 연료전지연구단) ;
  • 김형준 (한국과학기술연구원 연료전지연구단) ;
  • 임태훈 (한국과학기술연구원 연료전지연구단) ;
  • 오인환 (한국과학기술연구원 연료전지연구단) ;
  • 조은애 (한국과학기술연구원 연료전지연구단)
  • Published : 2009.06.25


Various polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) startup procedures were tested to explore possible techniques for reducing performance decay and improving durability during repeated startup-shutdown cycles. The effects of applying a dummy load, which prevents cell reversal by consuming the air at the cathode, on the degradation of a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) were investigated via single cell experiments. The electrochemical results showed that application of a dummy load during the startup procedure significantly reduced the performance decay, the decrease in the electrochemically active surface area (EAS), and the increase in the charge transfer resistance ($R_{ct}$), which resulted in a dramatic improvement in durability. After 1200 startup-shutdown cycles, post-mortem analyses were carried out to investigate the degradation mechanisms via various physicochemical methods including FESEM, an on-line $CO_2$ analysis, EPMA, XRD, FETEM, SAED, FTIR. After 1200 startup-shutdown cycles, severe Pt particle sintering/agglomeration/dissolution and carbon corrosion were observed at the cathode catalyst layer when starting up a PEMFC without a dummy load, which significantly contributed to a loss of Pt surface area, and thus to cell performance degradation. However, applying a dummy load during the startup procedure remarkably mitigated such severe degradations, and should be used to increase the durability of MEAs in PEMFCs. Our results suggest that starting up PEMFCs while applying a dummy load is an effective method for mitigating performance degradation caused by reverse current under a repetition of unprotected startup cycles.