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A systematic study on the use of short circuiting for the improvement of proton exchange membrane fuel cell performance

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>16/02/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number7
Volume42
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)4320-4327
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells suffer from reversible performance loss during operation caused by the oxidation of the Pt catalyst which in turn reduces the electrochemically active surface area. Many fuel cell manufacturers recommend using short circuiting during the operation of the fuel cell to improve the performance of the cells over time. However, there is lack of understanding on how it improves the performance as well as on how to optimise the short circuiting strategy for different fuel cell systems. We present a simple procedure to develop an optimised short circuiting strategy by maximising the cumulative average power density gain and minimising the time required to recover the energy loss during short circuiting. We obtained average voltage improvement from 10 to 12% at different current densities for a commercial H-100 system and our short circuiting strategy showed ∼2% voltage improvement in comparison to a commercial strategy. We also demonstrated that the minimum short circuiting time is a function of double layer capacitance by the use of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.