Enhancement of the performance of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) requires an appropriate water balance between the conservation of membrane humidity and the discharge of excess water produced in the cell. In the present study, a novel triple microporous layer (MPL) coated gas diffusion layer (GDL), in which a hydrophilic layer was coated on a hydrophobic double MPL, was developed to enhance the PEFC performance under both low and high humidity. The thin hydrophilic layer in the triple MPL is effective at conserving the humidity of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) under low humidity, while the hydrophobic double MPL between the hydrophilic layer and the carbon paper substrate prevents removal of water from the hydrophilic layer. This results in a significant enhancement of the ability of the GDL to prevent dehydration of the MEA. The triple MPL coated GDL, where the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) content in the hydrophobic MPL in contact with the hydrophilic layer is set to 30 mass% and that in contact with the substrate is set to 10 mass%, is effective at expelling excess water from the catalyst layer, which results in much higher PEFC performance under high humidity than that for a conventional hydrophobic MPL coated GDL.
!!!All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes