LBNL Report Number
The cathode catalyst layer within a proton-exchange-membrane fuel cell is the most complex and critical, yet least understood, layer within the cell. The exact method and equations for modeling this layer are still being revised and will be discussed in this paper, including a 0.8 reaction order, existence of Pt oxide, possible non-isopotential agglomerates, and the impact of a film resistance towards oxygen transport. While the former assumptions are relatively straightforward to understand and implement, the latter film resistance is shown to cause increased mass-transport limitations with low Pt-loading catalyst layers. Model results demonstrate that the increased oxygen flux and/or diffusion pathway through the film can substantially decrease performance. Also, some scale-up concepts from the agglomerate scale to the more macroscopic porous-electrode scale are discussed and the resulting optimization scenarios investigated.