Hydrogen starvation is an essential limiting factor of lifetime for commercial polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEM fuel cell) stack. In this paper, a segmented single 25 cm2 PEM fuel cell is utilized to investigate hydrogen starvation phenomenon. The current distribution under different hydrogen stoichiometry conditions is characterized based on contour maps, and the voltage drop phenomenon is tracked constantly during the whole duration until the cell reversal occurs. The results approve that voltage drop becomes more rapid and more severe with the decreasing number of hydrogen stoichiometry. Furthermore, hazardous carbon support oxidation induced by hydrogen starvation causes current density redistribution in the voltage drop process, reflecting irreversible performance degradation and component deterioration of PEM fuel cell.
Keywords PEM fuel cell, segmented fuel cell, current density distribution, printed circuit board, hydrogen starvation, cell reversal