Durability is a major issue against the commerciali-zation of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC). Several mechanisms play an important role on the deg-radation of the cathode catalyst layer (CCL) by deterio-rating the transport properties of reactants in the CCL mainly. A pseudo three-dimensional (P3D), two-phase, and non-isothermal model is used to study the effects of cell degradation on transport properties of the CCL. Ac-curacy of the model is verified by comparing the polari-zation curves from the model with the experimental ones reported in the literature. The model is used to investi-gate the effects of CCL transport properties and agglom-erate parameters on cell performance. Results demon-strate that the cell performance is improved for thinner ionomer film around agglomerates, smaller agglomer-ates, higher exchange current density, lower transport resistance and higher proton conductivity of the CCL. The transport parameters of the CCL are varied to fit the po-larization curves to the experimental ones for an acceler-ated stress test. It is found that the transport resistances increase exponentially with the carbon loss in the CCL.
Keywords PEMFC, Cell degradation, Performance loss, Catalyst layer transport properties, Agglomerate parameters