Identification of critical parameters for PEMFC stack performance characterization and control strategies for reliable and comparable stack benchmarking

Jens Mitzel, Erich Gülzow, Alexander Kabza, Jürgen Hunger, Samuel Simon Araya, Piotr Piela, Iker Alecha, Georgios Tsotridis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is focused on the identification of critical parameters and on the development of reliable methodologies to achieve comparable benchmark results. Possibilities for control sensor positioning and for parameter variation in sensitivity tests are discussed and recommended options for the control strategy are summarized. This ensures result comparability as well as stable test conditions. E.g., the stack temperature fluctuation is minimized to about 1 °C. The experiments demonstrate that reactants pressures differ up to 12 kPa if pressure control positions are varied, resulting in an average cell voltage deviation of 21 mV.
Test parameters simulating different stack applications are summarized. The stack demonstrated comparable average cell voltage of 0.63 V for stationary and portable conditions. For automotive conditions, the voltage increased to 0.69 V, mainly caused by higher reactants pressures.
A benchmarking concept is introduced using “steady-state” polarization curves. The occurring 20 mV hysteresis effect between the ascending and descending polarization curve can be corrected calculating the mean value of both voltages. This minimizes the influence of preceding load levels, current set points, and dwell times.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number46
Pages (from-to)21415–21426
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016



  • Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell
  • Stack benchmarking
  • Critical parameters
  • Parameter control
  • Test operating conditions
  • “Steady-state” polarization curve

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