Development of gas diffusion electrodes for low relative humidity proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Y. F. Huang, Arunachala Mada Kannan, C. S. Chang, C. W. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A series of polyaniline nanofibers (PANFs) were synthesized and incorporated into gas diffusion electrodes (GDE) of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) to improve their performances at low relative humidity (RH) conditions. Three different placements to incorporate the PANFs in the anodes include (1) placing a PANFs layer between catalyst layer (CL) and membrane, (2) coating the CL with PANFs and catalyst mixed slurry, and (3) placing a PANFs layer between the CL and gas diffusion layer (GDL). Fuel cell performance data indicates that the last method is superior to the others and is adopted as incorporation method thereafter. Extensive studies on single cell performances have been conducted to compare the membrane electrode assemblies with and without the incorporation of PANFs in both anode and cathode. Polarization curves show the incorporation of H2SO4-doped PANFs is highly effective in improving the hydrophilic characteristic of the electrodes and thus can promote the PEMFC performance at low RH conditions. For example, with a lowering of reactant RH from 100 to 70%, the electrode with H 2SO4-doped PANFs layer exhibits an increase in power density from 0.57 to 0.7 W cm-2. On the other hand, a traditional carbon-supported platinum electrode exhibits a decline of performance from 0.73 to 0.55 W cm-2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2213-2220
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Fuel cells
  • Gas diffusion layer
  • Membrane electrode assembly
  • Polyaniline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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