1994-03-01

Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Characterization for Electric Vehicle Applications 940296

This paper presents experimental data and an analysis of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell system for electric vehicle applications. The dependence of the fuel cell system's performance on air stoichiometry, operating temperature, and reactant gas pressure was assessed in terms of the fuel cell's polarity and power density-efficiency graphs. All the experiments were performed by loading the fuel cell with resistive heater coils which could be controlled to provide a constant current or constant power load. System parasitic power requirements and individual cell voltage distribution were also determined as a function of the electrical load. It was found that the fuel cell's performance improved with increases in temperature, pressure and stoichiometry within the range in which the fuel cell was operational. Cell voltage imbalances increased with increases in current output. The effect of such an imbalance is, however, not detrimental to the fuel cell system, as it is in the case of a battery.

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