Enhancement of the electrochemical membrane electrode assembly in proton exchange membrane fuel cells through direct microwave treatment

Yong Il Cho, Yukwon Jeon, Yong Gun Shul

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Demonstrated herein is a novel and easily controllable method using direct microwave irradiation treatment to enhance the electrochemical structure in the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) of the fuel cell. Through direct microwave irradiation, it is found that the pore dimension changed to an improved micropore structure with a 1.5-fold larger surface area (from 9.68 to 15.21 m2 g-1) at the microwave power of 500 W than the rare statement, which is proportional to the mass/heat transfer properties, along with the higher interfacial site area in the electrode, for better electrochemical properties. This upgraded structure also increases the Pt catalyst utilization and reduces the electrical loss by increasing the ionic conductivity between the catalyst layer and membrane when combined with polymer electrolyte, a catalyst, and the Nafion membrane in MEA. Due to the enhancement of the MEA properties, the fuel cell performances of the microwave-irradiated MEAs show a significant improvement to 1.87 A cm-2 at 0.6 V over the conventional MEA performance of 1.47 A cm-2. Especially achieved is a 110% enhancement in the limiting current density resulting from the developed electrochemical micropore structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-51
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (MEST) ( NRF-2009-C1AAA001-2009-0092926 ) and by the New & Renewable Energy Core Technology Program of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) granted financial resource from the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy, Republic of Korea (No. 20133030011320 ).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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