During PEFC’s operation the reactant gas is fed to the cell through the gas diffusion layer (GDL) and through the same material the product water is removed. Water accumulation near the catalyst can block the gas access causing an increase of the mass transport losses. On the other hand, PEFC’s work with a solid electrolyte membrane that needs to be hydrated in order to be proton conductive. In order to obtain the maximum performance PEFC’s required a well-balanced water management.
PEFCs are penalized by their cost and complexity, due in part to needed cooling and humidification systems. Evaporative cooling concepts achieve simultaneous cooling and humidification by evaporating liquid water in the PEFC itself, thus allowing the removal of the costly external humidifiers and the use of much less water for cooling than a classical convective cooling system. However they have their own challenges, such as distributing the liquid water where it is most needed or avoiding flooding the cell.
The PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) water electrolysers produce high purity hydrogen by electrochemical water splitting. The Major advantage of this technology is its dynamics, safety and simplicity of the whole pilot plant. The Anode where water is being split and cathode where hydrogen is evolved are isolated from each other by solid electrolyte what enables PEMWE (Proton Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysers) to electrochemically pressurize the gas up to 300bar.