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Control Method to Reduce Degradation in Fuel Cell System at Start-up

Article of Honda R&D Technical Review Vol.24 No.2

Summary

In the fuel cell system, the anode electrode is supplied with sufficient hydrogen during generation, but when the system is stopped, the inflow of air from the exterior replaces the hydrogen with air. When the system is started with air replacing hydrogen at the anode electrode, corrosion of the catalyst at the cathode electrode occurs.
This paper proposes a method that helps to prevent corrosion of the catalyst by discharging corrosion current to external circuits at start-up. New measurement tools including measurements of electrical potential, corrosion current, and gas analysis were applied to the fuel cell system in developing the control system. Using these tools, the internal environment of the fuel cell stack was clarified, and a method of discharge at the optimal timing with consideration of hydrogen starvation was developed. The ability of the developed start-up discharge method to control corrosion at the cathode electrode was verified by measurements of potential, corrosion current, and quantity of CO2 generated, and durability tests using an actual fuel cell system confirmed the effectiveness of the system.

Reference

(1) Gu, W., Carter, R. N., Yu, P. T., Gasteiger, H. A.: Start/Stop and Local H2 Starvation Mechanisms of Carbon Corrosion: Model vs. Experiment, ECS Transactions, 11(1), p. 963-973 (2007)
(2) Yamazaki, K., Nagoshi, K., Yoshida, H.: Current Status and Challenges of Fuel Cell Vehicle Development, JSAE Proceedings, No. 25-10 , p. 1-4 (2010)
(3) Takano, J., Kaji, H., Yoshida, H., Nagoshi, K.: Development of HONDA FCX, EVS24 (2009)
(4) Auer, E., Freund, A., Pietsch, J., Tacke, T.: Carbons as supports for industrial precious metal catalysts, Appl. Catal. A. Gen. 173, p. 259-271 (1998)
(5) Taniguchi, A., Akita, T., Yasuda, K., Miyazaki, Y.: Analysis of electrocatalyst degradation in PEMFC caused by cell reversal during fuel starvation, Journal of Power Sources, 130, p. 42-49 (2004)
(6) Yoshida, H., Koiwa, N., Sato, M., Suzuki, T.: Small, Thin-film Electric Potential Sensor for In-situ Evaluation of Fuel Cell Stack, Honda R&D Technical Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 162-167
(7) Nohmi, T., Maekawa, M., Mogi, T.: Suiso Ion Sensa, Suiso Enerugi Sisutemu, Vol. 33, No. 2, p. 54-59 (2008) (in Japanese)

Author (organization or company)

Koichiro FURUSAWA(Automobile R&D Center)、Kentaro NAGOSHI(Automobile R&D Center)、Satoshi TANIMOTO(Automobile R&D Center)

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