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Open AccessReview

Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Reversal: A Review

1,2, 1,2, 1,2, 1,2,* and 1,2,*
School of Automotive Studies, Tongji University, Shanghai 201804, China
Clean Energy Automotive Engineering Center, Tongji University, Shanghai 201804, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: David Sebastián and Vincenzo Baglio
Catalysts 2016, 6(12), 197;
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 9 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 September 2016 / Published: 8 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catalysis for Low Temperature Fuel Cells)
PDF [2385 KB, uploaded 8 December 2016]


The H2/air-fed proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) has two major problems: cost and durability, which obstruct its pathway to commercialization. Cell reversal, which would create irreversible damage to the fuel cell and shorten its lifespan, is caused by reactant starvation, load change, low catalyst performance, and so on. This paper will summarize the causes, consequences, and mitigation strategies of cell reversal of PEMFC in detail. A description of potential change in the anode and cathode and the differences between local starvation and overall starvation are reviewed, which gives a framework for comprehending the origins of cell reversal. According to the root factor of cell starvation, i.e., fuel cells do not satisfy the requirements of electrons and protons of normal anode and cathode chemical reactions, we will introduce specific methods to mitigate or prevent fuel cell damage caused by cell reversal in the view of system management strategies and component material modifications. Based on a comprehensive understanding of cell reversal, it is beneficial to operate a fuel cell stack and extend its lifetime. View Full-Text
Keywords: PEMFC; cell reversal; starvation; mitigation strategies PEMFC; cell reversal; starvation; mitigation strategies

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Qin, C.; Wang, J.; Yang, D.; Li, B.; Zhang, C. Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Reversal: A Review. Catalysts 2016, 6, 197.

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