Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell

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Abstract

The polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) also known as proton exchange membrane fuel cell, polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) and solid polymer fuel cell (SPFC) was first developed by General Electric in the USA in the 1960’s for use by NASA in their initial space applications. The electrolyte is an ion conducting polymer membrane, described in more details in Section 2.2. Anode and cathode are bonded to either side of the membrane. This assembly is normally called membrane electrode assembly (MEA) or EMA which is placed between the two flow field plates (bipolar plates) (Section 2.5) to form what is known as “stack”. The basic operation of the PEMFC is the same as that of an acid electrolyte cell as the mobile ions in the polymer are H+ or proton.