Polarization loss correction derived from hydrogen local-resistance measurement in low Pt-loaded polymer-electrolyte fuel cells
The reduction of platinum-loading on the cathode side of polymer-electrolyte fuel cells leads to a poorly understood increase in mass-transport resistance (MTR) at high current densities. This local resistance was measured using a facile hydrogen-pump technique with dilute active gases for membrane-electrode assemblies with catalyst layers of varying platinum-loading (0.03–0.40 mgPt/cm2). Furthermore, polarization curves in H2/air were measured and corrected for the overpotential caused by the increased MTR for low loadings on the air side due to the reduced concentration of reactant gas at the catalyst surface. The difference in performance after correction for all resistances including the MTR is minor, suggesting its origin to be diffusive in nature, and proving the meaningfulness of the facile hydrogen-pump technique for the characterization of the cathode catalyst layer under defined operation conditions.