Optimization study of purge cycle in proton exchange membrane fuel cell system

Kaj Nikiforow (Corresponding Author), Henri Karimäki, Tommi Keränen, Jari Ihonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    86 Citations (Scopus)


    In PEMFC (proton exchange membrane fuel cell) systems operating in dead-end mode, hydrogen purges are needed to remove accumulated inert gases and liquid water from the anode side of the fuel cell stack. Hydrogen purges were studied using different humidity levels, purge times, and purge triggering criteria. The purged gas volume and composition were accurately measured with fast data acquisition and an advanced experimental set-up. The experiments were done with constant current density with aim of keeping the anode gas recirculation rate constant. Fuel utilization per pass varied as the hydrogen content on the anode side changed. This study demonstrates how the optimized purge strategy changes with a changing humidity level. It also shows that high fuel efficiency (>99%) is easily reached and that with optimized purge strategy a very high fuel efficiency (99.9%) can be reached. It was also shown that concentration polarization due to accumulation of inert gases on the anode side is two times higher than values obtained by theoretical calculations. This result is significant for purge strategy and system design.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)336-344
    JournalJournal of Power Sources
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • PEMFC system
    • Purge cycle
    • inert build-up
    • hydrogen quality


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