Discovering Reactant Supply Pathways at Electrode/PEM Reaction Interfaces via a Tailored Interface-Visible Characterization Cell

Weitian Wang, Lei Ding, Zhiqiang Xie, Shule Yu, Brian Canfield, Guido Bender, Jacob Wrubel, Bryan Pivovar, Feng-Yuan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations

Abstract

In situ and micro-scale visualization of electrochemical reactions and multiphase transports on the interface of porous transport electrode (PTE) materials and solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) has been one of the greatest challenges for electrochemical energy conversion devices, such as proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cells (PEMECs), CO2 reduction electrolyzers, PEM fuel cells, etc. Here, an interface-visible characterization cell (IV-CC) is developed to in situ visualize micro-scaled and rapid electrochemical reactions and transports in PTE/SPE interfaces. Taking the PEMEC of a green hydrogen generator as a study case, the unanticipated local gas blockage, micro water droplets, and their evolution processes are successfully visualized on PTE/PEM interfaces in a practical PEMEC device, indicating the existence of unconventional reactant supply pathways in PEMs. Further comprehensive results reveal that PEM water supplies to reaction interfaces are significantly impacted with current densities. These results provide critical insights about the reaction interface optimization and mass transport enhancement in various electrochemical energy conversion devices.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2207809
Number of pages9
JournalSmall
Volume19
Issue number28
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wiley-VCH GmbH.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-84270

Keywords

  • micro gas blockage
  • porous transport electrode (PTE)/PEM interfaces
  • porous transport electrodes
  • proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers
  • visualization

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