DS02 - Energie, propre, sûre et efficace

Unveiling the propagation mechanisms of local defects in PEMFCs, by measurement and exploitation of local current density distribution – LOCALI

Submission summary

Reliability and durability are key considerations to successfully deploy Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs). Since the link between materials defects and performances at the scales of the Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) and the stack is now well documented, LOCALI shall provide information about the propagation of these defects to other materials or to other locations in the stack. LOCALI aims to improve the existing systems and will ultimately provide effective tools to control their mass-production, the quality of the stacks and their diagnosis for on-site maintenance (stationary) or for on-board (transportation) applications. To these goals, the study focuses on three main axes, developed for PEMFCs (but which can easily be implemented for E-PEM).
Firstly, LOCALI will develop instrumentation dedicated to local current density measurement and local electrochemical impedance spectroscopy: well-instrumented segmented cells and magnetic fields measurement are the core competences to these goals. The second challenge of LOCALI is, by using tailored defective MEAs or thanks to specific operating conditions (flooding, reagent exhaustion, ...) to characterize how local and overall performances of the MEA are affected, and to identify the signatures of the various anomalies. Our target is to identify the source of the heterogeneities as well as to locate degraded areas inside a stack. Finally, LOCALI will enable to track, during ageing, how the initial and controlled defects do propagate upon operation. A particular attention will be paid on two points: (i) does a defect in the one material of the MEA (e.g. a hole in the PEM) influence the local degradation of its neighboring materials (e.g. the catalyst layer); (ii) does the defect propagate spatially, and if so, does it happen only at the MEA scale (e.g. from the inlet to the outlet regions) or at the stack scale (i.e. from the defective cell to its neighboring ones).

Project coordinator

Monsieur YANN BULTEL (Institut polytechnique de Grenoble)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LEMTA Laboratoire d'Energétique et de Mécanique Théorique et Appliquée
CEA Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
G2ELab Laboratoire de Génie Electrique de Grenoble
Grenoble INP / LEPMI Institut polytechnique de Grenoble

Help of the ANR 549,170 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2017 - 42 Months

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