UCL Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering


RSC Sustainable Energy and Fuels paper out now!

15 October 2020


A new CNIE article has been published in RSC Sustainable Energy and Fuels entitled “Effect of extended short-circuiting in proton exchange membrane fuel cells” in collaboration with EiL. Panos and Jason are co-first authors and corresponding authors.

The team consist as well of Nidhi and Marc-Olivier from the CNIE and from EiL Lara, Albert and Dan.

Read the open access article here.

Even though all reports in the literature describe beneficial effects of short-circuiting on the power output of the fuel cell, the performance and durability results presented are for a short period of time (~1–2 h). Will the beneficial effect of short-circuiting persist under extended operation? Here, an answer is provided to this question, by investigating the effect of short-circuiting on PEMFC performance and durability over an extended period (~144 h). A commercial short-circuiting protocol is employed and the performance and durability of a closed cathode PEMFC under open-circuit voltage (OCV) over 144 h are compared to the ones obtained for a closed cathode PEMFC under OCV without short-circuiting for the same period. The experimental results demonstrate the detrimental effect of extended short-circuiting on the durability of the catalyst and the performance of the fuel cell. Electrochemically active surface area losses reach ~46% for the short-circuiting case, compared to only ~18% losses for the OCV without short-circuiting. TEM and XPS measurements are employed to monitor the morphological changes of the catalyst layer, revealing that Ostwald ripening, carbon corrosion, and Pt migration and precipitation into the polymer membrane are the main degradation mechanisms of the cathode catalyst layer.