1st Edition

Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

By Zhigang Qi Copyright 2014
    371 Pages 153 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    371 Pages 153 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    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.


    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



    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