Published: CABEQ 21 (1) (2007) 93–96
Paper type: Conference Paper

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Characterisation of MEAs for Electrochemical Energy Conversion Using an Easy Test Technique

E. Slavcheva, I. Radev, V. Sinigersky, S. Shenkov, G. Topalov and E. Budevski

The paper describes an EasyTest cell developed for simple, safe and inexpensive to run testing and optimisation of the active materials (catalysts, catalytic supports, polymer membrane electrolytes) and electrode structures utilized in PEM Fuel cells and Electrolysers. The main advantages of the new EasyTest technique are demonstrated by a comparative study on the performance of two types of membrane electrode assemblies for electrochemical energy conversion. Nafion and PBI-based polymer electrolyte membranes covered with catalytic layers containing 20 % Pt dispersed on carbon black (E-TEK, De Nora) are tested as hydrogen electrodes working in a fuel cell and an electrolyser mode at two characteristic temperatures, varying the total partial pressure in the cell. The PBI-based membrane electrode assembly (MEA) gives lower current densities compared to that containing Nafion, while its performance remains stable in a much broader potential range. At overpotentials of about η = 300–350 mV the Nafion MEA reaches a limiting current density, while in the case of PBI-based MEA such an effect is not registered in the whole potential range tested.

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Test device, membrane electrode assembly, hydrogen oxidation, hydrogen generation