Enzyme fuel cells (EFCs) offer some advantages over traditional precious-metal-catalyzed fuel cells, such as polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). However, EFCs exhibit far less power output than PEMFCs and have relatively short life spans before materials must be replaced. In this work, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) is used to analyze the internal resistances throughout the EFC at a variety of operating conditions. EIS analysis is focused primarily on the resistances of the anode, solution/membrane, and cathode. Increased enzyme loading results in improved power output and reductions in internal resistance. Conditions are identified for which enzyme loading does not limit the EFC performance. EIS experiments are also reported for EFCs operated continuously for 2 days; power output declines sharply over time, while all internal resistances increase. Drying of the cathode and enzyme/mediator degradation are believed to have contributed to this behavior. Finally, experiments are performed at varying air-humidification temperatures. Little effect on internal resistances or power output is observed. However, it is anticipated that increased air humidification can improve longevity by delivering more water to the cathode. Improvements to the enzymatic cathode are needed for EFC development. These improvements need to focus on improving transport rather than increasing enzyme loading.
Doug, A., A.P. Borole, S. Yiacoumi, C. Tsouris
Journal of Power Sources
59 - 65