Impact of Microporous Layer Roughness on Gas-Diffusion-Electrode-Based Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell Performance

Min Wang, Jason Pfeilsticker, Michael Ulsh, Scott Mauger, Svitlana Pylypenko, Samantha Medina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus Citations

Abstract

This study explores the role of the gas diffusion media microporous layer (MPL) surface structure on the electrochemical properties of gas-diffusion-electrode (GDE)-based membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs). It has been shown that a thin ionomer layer on top of the GDE and hot pressing is needed to create good contact between the catalyst layer and the membrane. In this study, gas diffusion media with different MPL surface roughness were applied to fabricate GDE-based MEAs to understand how MPL roughness impacts the amount of ionomer overlayer required for maximum performance. Electron microscopy was employed to investigate MPL/catalyst layer and catalyst layer/membrane interfaces. In-situ performance testing was used to assess the impact of MPL roughness and ionomer overlayer on catalyst utilization and air polarization performance. We find that a smoother MPL surface required a thinner ionomer overlayer than gas diffusion media (GDM) with a rougher MPL surface to achieve a performance comparable to direct-coated catalyst-coated-membrane MEAs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7757-7761
Number of pages5
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Volume2
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-74700

Keywords

  • GDE
  • interface
  • ionomer overlayer
  • MEA structure
  • MPL
  • PEMFC
  • surface roughness

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