In-situ and in-operando Analysis of Voltage Losses Using Sense Wires for Proton Exchange Membrane Water Electrolyzers

Zhenye Kang, Shaun Alia, Marcelo Carmo, Guido Bender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus Citations


Proton exchange membrane water electrolyzer development requires understanding processes at the materials and interface levels to reach the required performance and lifetime targets for increasing market penetration. To achieve the required progress, it is critical to develop advanced in-situ diagnostics that allow observation of the changes that come with the reduction of catalyst loading combined with long-term intermittent operation. This work presents an internal voltage sensing method that enables observing internal voltage drops in an operating electrolyzer cell. It allows the total cell resistance to be separated into anode, CCM, and cathode resistance. The method is demonstrated by operating cells with different anode porous transport layers (PTLs). The changing properties of the PTLs result in significant variations of the resistances. Enhancing the PTL properties with a protective coating reduces the anode resistance significantly. In addition to these observations, the method enables a real-time monitoring of resistance related values that impact performance in water electrolyzers. Long-term experiments with the method allow us to gain insights into processes that occur during operation such as conditioning or degradation. The internal voltage sensing method presented in this study is a novel technique for diagnosing, analyzing, and optimizing water electrolyzers and other energy conversion devices.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number229012
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-77223


  • Loss contribution
  • PTL coating
  • PTL resistance
  • Voltage sensing
  • Water electrolysis


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