(Invited) Segmented Cells: A Tool for Studying Fuel Cell Operation Heterogeneities, MEA Degradation Mechanisms, and Possible Mitigation Strategies
Using segmented cells recently enabled understanding the origin of local degradations in PEMFC, in occasions put forward by post-mortem analyses . One of the most spectacular phenomena they contributed to unveil is the reverse currents occurring during cell start-up or shut-down under open circuit conditions. Their main mechanisms were initially presented by Reiser et al.  but to the best of our knowledge, Siroma et al.  and Maranzana et al.  were the first to succeed in measuring internal currents in PEMFC.
From our point of view, there are currently two main perspectives in the use of segmented cells. The first one is to explore degradation mechanisms in other situations than start-up and shut-down events, for instance when a fuel cell is operated in dead-end mode : in this case, excessive accumulation of liquid water and possibly nitrogen and oxygen in the anode compartment can result in significant rise of the anode potentials. More generally, segmented cells could be used to analyze the local operation of a cell during any kind of transient or steady-state operation. The main challenge in these cases consists in finding reliable markers of the degradation of the electrolyte membrane: up to now, instrumented cells were mostly used to monitor the degradation of the electrodes.
The second perspective concerns the temperature heterogeneity over the MEA surface and through its thickness. Contrary to local variations in gas concentration, the impact of temperature heterogeneities is far from being well understood although MEA components degradation phenomena, reaction mechanisms/kinetics, and mass-transport phenomena are all dependent on that parameter.
These issues and the main dificulties in designing and operating segmented cells will be discussed in the presentation.
- Berning T, Lu DM, Djilali N, J. Power Sources 2002, 106:284-294.
- Chupin S, Colinart T, Didierjean S, Dube Y, Agbossou K, Maranzana G, Lottin O, J. Power Sources 2010, 195:5213-5227.
- Yang XG, Zhang FY, Lubawy AL, Wang CY, Electrochemical and Solid State Letters 2004, 7:A408-A411.
- Dillet J, Lottin O, Maranzana G, Didierjean S, Conteau D, Bonnet C, J. Power Sources 2010, 195:2795-2799.
- Bedet J, Maranzana G, Leclerc S, Lottin O, Moyne C, Stemmelen D, Mutzenhardt P, Canet D., Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 2008, 33:3146-3149.
- Morin A, Xu F, Gebel G, Diat O., Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 2011, 36:3096-3109.
- Hartnig C, Manke I, Kuhn R, Kleinau S, Goebbels J, Banhart J., J. Power Sources 2009, 188:468-474.
- Pérez LC, Brandão L, Sousa JM, Mendes A., Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 2011, 15:169-185.
- Reum M, Wokaun A, Büchi FN, J. Electrochem. Soc. 2009, 156:B1225-B1231.
- Gasteiger HA, Vielstich W, Yokokawa H. Handbook of Fuel Cells. Vol. 5-6. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd; 2009.
- Reiser CA, Bregoli L, Patterson TW, Yi JS, Yang JDL, Perry ML, Jarvi TD, Electrochem. Solid State Lett. 2005, 8:A273-A276.
- Siroma Z, Fujiwara N, Ioroi T, Yamazaki S-i, Senoh H, Yasuda K, Tanimoto K, J. Power Sources 2007, 172:155-162.
- Maranzana G, Lottin O, Colinart T, Chupin S, Didierjean S, J. Power Sources 2008, 180:748-754.
- Abbou S, Dillet J, Spernjak D, Mukundan R, Fairweather J, Borup R L, Maranzana G, Didierjean S, Lottin O, ECS Transactions, Vol. 58, N°1, pp. 1631-1642, 2013.