Direct compression from the land structure of bipolar plate in a PEM fuel cell is considered as an important factor for the higher performance under the land than under the channel areas. Therefore the objective of this study is to determine if a cold pre-compression treatment on the whole membrane electrode assembly (MEA) area may have a significant positive effect on the overall performance of the cell. Five different levels of cold pre-compression have been applied and the experimental results show that the overall performance of the cell first increases with the level of compression to a maximum, and then decreases. These results clearly show that cold pre-compression of the MEA can significantly enhance the performance of the entire cell and there exists an optimal level of compression. Results of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) show that the cold pre-compression results in a significant reduction in charge transfer resistance, especially in the high current density region. Further study by the cyclic voltammetry (CV) shows that the electro-chemical area (ECA) is changed with the different cold pre-compressed MEAs and there exists an optimal compression that results in the maximum ECA. Highlights: Cold pre-compression of MEA can significantly improve the PEM fuel cell performance. There is an optimal pressure for the cold pre-compression. The effects are mainly due to the changes in ECA.
- Cold pre-compression
- PEM fuel cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology