Effect of Toluene on PEMFC Performance

Jaana Viitakangas (Corresponding Author), Sonja Auvinen, M. Costantino, Saara Viik, Jari Ihonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    60 Downloads (Pure)


    Liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs) are promising means for hydrogen transportation. They are compatible with existing liquid fuel transport infrastructure and enable for efficient and safe hydrogen storage and transfer over long distances. Toluene and dibenzyltoluene are considered the two most promising LOHCs. Toluene is probably a contaminant found in hydrogen released from these LOHC liquids. The impact of hydrocarbon contaminants on automotive type fuel cells has been analyzed to a limited extent, and a few species only have specific limits (CO, CO2, HCOOH, HCHO, CH4). Currently, hydrocarbons are limited to a total of 2 ppm (methane basis) in the automotive hydrogen fuel standard, ISO 14687:2019. This may lead to strict impurity levels for species from LOHC, and therefore higher costs of hydrogen purification and quality assurance. This work presents contamination studies with toluene. The measurements were conducted using a PEMFC short stack with anode recirculation and with high fuel utilization (98%). The results show no effect or only a small contamination effect with up to 20 ppm toluene, and clear contamination with 50 ppm toluene. This supports the need for more studies so that a separate limit can be defined for toluene in future versions of the ISO 14687.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-252
    JournalFuel Cells
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    The research leading to these results has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement n° 779694 and Business Finland, Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation and Technology. The Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research.


    • Fuel Cell
    • Hydrogen
    • Hydrogen Fuel Impurities
    • Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers
    • PEMFC
    • Toluene
    • H2020


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