Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

An Experimental Study of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Operation at Sub-Freezing Temperatures


The ability of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) to startup at subfreezing temperatures is governed by whether it is able to overcome the freezing point (0°C) before product ice prevents the electrochemical reactions. In this work, we experimentally investigated the coulombs of charge Qc transferred in PEFCs under subfreezing operation before the output voltage drops to 0.0V. PEFCs with various membranes and catalyst-layer thicknesses, ionomer-carbon ratios, operating current density, and initial hydration of PEFCs were studied, and their influences on cold-start performance and coulombs of charge were experimentally measured. We find that subfreezing temperature, ionomer-catalyst ratio, and catalyst-layer thickness, significantly affect the amount of charge transferred before operational failure, whereas the membrane thickness and initial hydration level have limited effect for the considered cases. © 2013 The Electrochemical Society.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View