Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells  book cover
1st Edition

Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

ISBN 9781138075115
Published November 22, 2017 by CRC Press
371 Pages 153 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Clean energy technologies are poised to play an important role in overcoming fossil fuel exhaustion and global pollution. Among these technologies, electrochemical energy storage and conversion are considered to be the most feasible, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells are prime examples of electrochemical energy conversion technologies in action. Believed to be ideal sources of clean power, PEM fuel cells are replacing internal combustion and diesel engines in vehicles, as well as Pb-acid batteries and diesel generators in the emergency backup of telecommunications base stations and computer centers.

Written by an industry-leading scientist, Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells explains the theoretical foundations of PEM fuel cells in relation to practical design and operation to not only help beginners grasp the essentials, but also guide industry professionals in tackling technical challenges. Useful to scientists, researchers, students, academics, and practicing engineers, the book covers the fundamentals, materials, components, modules, system architecture, applications, and current developmental status; offers real-world examples; and provides insight into advancing this sustainable clean technology.

Table of Contents


Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Fuel Cells

Types of Fuel Cells

Advantages of Fuel Cells

Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells



Catalyst Layer

Gas Diffusion Medium

Microporous Layer

Membrane Electrode Assembly


Single Cell



Cell Voltage Monitoring Module (CVM)

Fuel Supply Module (FSM)

Air Supply Module (ASM)

Exhaust Management Module (EMM)

Heat Management Module (HMM)

Water Management Module (WMM)

Internal Power Supply Module (IPM)

Power Conditioning Module (PCM)

Communications Module (COM)

Controls Module (CM)


Thermodynamics and Kinetics

Theoretical Efficiency



Tafel Equation

Voltage Loss due to H2 Crossover at Open Circuit


Limiting Current Density


Porous Electrode

Flooded Electrode

Achievable Current Density and Power Density

Impact of Ionomer on 3-Phase Boundary

System Efficiency

Water Balance

Thoughts on Ultra-Thin Catalyst Layers

Startup and Shutdown Strategies

Impacts of OCV and Air/Fuel Boundary


N2 Purge

H2 Purge

H2 Diffusion

Filling Stack Enclosure with H2


Hydrogen H2

Property of H2

Generation of H2

Reforming of Hydrocarbons and Alcohols

Cracking of Ammonia

Electrolysis of Water


Internal Pressurization

Proton Onsite PEM Electrolyzer

Chemical Sources


Metal Hydrides

Hydrogen Storage

Compressed Gas

Metal Hydride

Hydrogen Transportation and Refueling





Size and Size Distribution

Crystallite Size

Surface Area


Cyclic Voltammetry


Proton Conductivity

Water Content


Dimensional Changes


Electronic Conductivity





Density and Permeability

Corrosion Current


Catalyst Loading

Electrochemical Active Surface Area

H2 Crossover

Single Cell

V-I Curve

Durability Assessment

Load Cycling

Temperature Cycling

Poisoning Tolerance


Performance and Durability

Startup Rate and Subzero Temperature Challenge

Balance-of-Plant (BOP)

DC-DC Converter

Air Supply Device

Liquid Pump

Heat Exchanger

Solenoid Valve

Controls Board

Flow Meter and Sensor

Internal Power Supply



Stationary Power

Backup Power

Telecommunications Station

Fuel Cell System with Air-Cooled Stack

System Architecture

Fuel Cell System with Ballard FCgen-1020ACS Stack

Ballard FCgen-1020ACS Stack and Fuel Cell System


ReliOn Fuel Cell Systems

Fuel Cell System with Liquid-Cooled Stack

Features of 5 kW System

Stack from Sunrise Power

Breadboard System

Fuel Cell System

Primary Power

Fuel Processing


Steam Reforming

Wager-Gas Shift Reaction

Preferential Oxidation

Steam Reforming Methanol

IdaTech/Ballard Systems


Motive Power

Fuel Cell Vehicles

Vehicle Power Requirement

Driving Distance with 6 kg H2

Electrical Power Train

Fuel Cell System


Tourist Cart



Shanghai Shenli System

Plug Power System

Data of Some Fuel Cell Vehicles

Vehicle Test Procedures


Portable Power

Volumetric Energy Density of Various Fuels

Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

Conventional DMFC System Architecture

DMFC System Using Neat Methanol by MTI Micro Fuel Cells

How to Make It Work

DMFC Charger

DMFC Systems Developed by SFC Energy



Status and Targets

DOE Funding

CHP System

Cars and Buses

H2 Storage

Portable System




Appendix 1: Terminology

Appendix 2: Brief Introduction to Fuel Cell Developers

Subject Index


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Zhigong Qi is Wuhan Intepower Fuel Cells Co. (China) CEO, Knowledge Foundation (US) technical advisor, China Fuel Cell & Flow Battery committee member, Hubei Province Fuel Cell committee member (China), and chief scientist/manager of two "863" projects (China). He holds a B.Sc and M.Sc from University of Science and Technology Beijing, M.Sc from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Ph.D from McGill University. He has authored 56 journal articles, 6 book chapters, 9 US and 7 Chinese patents, delivered nearly 30 invited presentations worldwide, and been affiliated with H Power Corp., Plug Power, MTI Micro Fuel Cells, and Wuhan Intepower Co.


"This book covers the essentials of theory, with a focus on providing tools and techniques engineers can use during the design process. This is a balance that can only be achieved by the author’s extensive industry experience and credentials."
––Chuck Carlstrom, R & D Director, Lydall, Manchester, Connecticut, USA; Former Director of Stack Development at Plug Power, Latham, New York, USA

"This book is written by a scientist with broad knowledge of PEM fuel cells, ranging from the fundamental chemistry to commercial development and applications. …Its unique insider’s perspective displays an intimate knowledge of PEM fuel cell systems, testing methods, and commercial requirements."
––Professor Peter G. Pickup, Department of Chemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Canada

"…this book apparently helps not only newcomers but also experts for their technology review."
––Dr. Fumio Ueno, Chairman of IEC Technical Committee 105: Fuel Cell Technologies; Technology Executive, Micro Fuel Cell Display Devices & Components Control Center, Toshiba, Tokyo, Japan

"The author combines a clear and thorough understanding of the theoretical foundations of fuel cells with a sound application of these to the practical considerations and challenges of designing and operating fuel cell systems for a variety of applications."
––Dr. John F. Elter, President of Sustainable Systems LLC, Albany, New York, USA; Former Vice-President and CTO at Plug Power, Latham, New York, USA

"…it is a good reference for all levels of fuel cell developers. …The analysis on key issues for PEMFC applications is in-depth and thorough."
––Dr. Hao Tang, Chief Scientist, R&D Director, Alternative Energy Institute, China Eastern Electric Corp., Sichuan, China

"It provides information useful to beginners and experienced researchers alike. …It is a more comprehensive book [than] I have ever seen."
––Professor Pucheng Pei, Director, Institute of Automotive Power, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China