About the Article
Fuel cell technology continually advances, prompting validation engineers to seek ways to optimize system performance. The selection of suitable proton exchange membranes (PEMs) plays a crucial role in achieving optimal performance and durability. In this edition of "Ask the Expert," Chow Mun Hoe, a product specialist at Gore, sheds light on the key factors influencing fuel cell performance.
To address the challenge of validating PEM attributes, Mun Hoe emphasizes the intricate relationship between system performance, durability, and variables such as MEAs, stack design, and system configuration. It is recommended to conduct short or full-stack tests at the stack level to evaluate the impact of PEMs on MEA performance and validate different stack designs. System-level testing encompasses factors like system design, operating conditions, and driving patterns to comprehensively assess stack performance and durability.
As the focus shifts towards commercial fuel cell vehicle development, Mun Hoe underscores the significance of ionomer type, membrane reinforcement structure, and PEM thickness on proton conductance and vehicle range. Manufacturers need to address mechanical and chemical durability risks stemming from changes in humidity and harsh environments. Adopting a systematic approach and rigorous quality control processes are imperative to ensure consistent, high-quality production during volume manufacturing. Gore's proven and stable manufacturing processes, along with established product specifications tested under appropriate sampling plans and rigorous checks, ensure a high level of lot-to-lot consistency and product quality confidence.
Diagnostic tools like chronoamperometry (CA), cyclic voltammetry (CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and SEM-EDX analysis are invaluable resources when facing underperforming or degrading fuel cell stacks. These tools aid in identifying potential causes of performance degradation, provide insights into stack performance and durability, and facilitate design improvements for stack manufacturers. By understanding and utilizing key vectors while implementing suitable strategies, we can achieve optimal performance for fuel cell systems in diverse applications.