Enhanced low-humidity performance of proton exchange membrane fuel cell by incorporating phosphoric acid-loaded covalent organic framework in anode catalyst layer
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Developing self-humidifying membrane electrode assembly (MEA) is of great significance for the practical use of proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). In this work, a phosphoric acid (PA)-loaded Schiff base networks (SNW)-type covalent organic framework (COF) is proposed as the anode catalyst layer (CL) additive to enhance the PEMFC performance under low humidity conditions. The unique polymer structure and immobilized PA endow the proposed COF network with not only excellent water retention capacity but also proton transfer ability, thus leading to the superior low humidity performance of the PEMFC. The optimization of the additive content, the effect of relative humidity (RH) and PEMFC operating temperature are investigated by means of electrochemical characterization and single cell test. At a normal operation temperature of 60 °C and 38% RH, the MEA with optimized COF content (10 wt%) showes the maximum power density of 582 mW cm−2, which is almost 7 times higher than that of the routine MEA (85 mW cm−2).