DOE Technical Targets for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell Components

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These tables list the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) technical targets for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell components: membrane electrode assemblies, membranes, electrocatalysts, and bipolar plates. These targets have been developed with input from the U.S. DRIVE Partnership, which includes automotive and energy companies, and specifically the Fuel Cell Technical Team. The guideline component targets are developed to assist component developers in evaluating progress without testing full systems.

More information about targets can be found in the Fuel Cells section of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office's Multi-Year Research, Development, and Demonstration Plan.

Technical Targets: Membrane Electrode Assemblies for Transportation Applications

CharacteristicUnits2015 Status2020 Targets
Cost a$/kWnet17 b14
Durability with cyclinghours2,500 c5,000 d
Start-up/shutdown durability ecycles5,000
Performance @ 0.8 V fmA/cm2240 g300
Performance @ rated power h (150 kPaabs)mW/cm2810 i1,000
Robustness (cold operation) jsee footnote1.09 k0.7
Robustness (hot operation) lsee footnote0.87 k0.7
Robustness (cold transient) msee footnote0.84 k0.7

a Costs projected to high volume production (500,000 80-kWnet systems per year).
b Cost when producing sufficient MEAs for 500,000 systems per year. DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Record 15015, "Fuel Cell System Cost—2015." Cost includes all MEA components, including frames and gaskets.
c Time until 10% decrease in voltage at 1.0–1.5 A/cm2 for a Gore MEA using a 510 catalyst (anode/cathode loading of 0.2/0.4 mgPGM/cm2) operated on durability test protocol in Table P.7. Rod Borup and Rangachary Mukundan (LANL), private communication and 2013 Annual Merit Review presentation. Higher durability values have been reported elsewhere (e.g., 3,900 hours in on-the-road testing, Table 3.4.3), but these higher values were not measured using the drive cycle specified in Table P.7.
d Need to meet or exceed at temperatures of 80°C up to peak temperature. Based on polarization curve and durability testing protocols in Table P.6 and Table P.7, with <10% drop in rated power after test.
e Measured according to protocol in Table P.8, with less than 5% decrease in voltage at 1.2 A/cm2.
f Measured using polarization curve protocol in Table P.6.
g Kongkanand et al. (General Motors), "High-Activity Dealloyed Catalysts," 2014 Annual Progress Report.
h Measured using polarization curve protocol in Table P.6, but any temperature up to maximum operating temperature may be used, with maximum inlet RH of 40%. Rated power operating point depends on MEA temperature and is defined as the voltage at which V = 77.6 / (22.1 + T[°C]), based on target of Q/ΔTi = 1.45 kW/°C and definition of Q/ΔTi from Table 3.4.4, with an approximation of MEA temperature as equal to stack coolant outlet temperature.
i Areal power density of 810 mW/cm2 at 150 kPaabs and 1,060 mW/cm2 At 250 kPaabs. A. Steinbach et al. (3M), "High-Performance, Durable, Low-Cost Membrane Electrode Assemblies for Transportation Applications," 2014 Annual Merit Review.
j Ratio of voltage at 30°C to voltage at 80°C during operation at 1.0 A/cm2, measured using the protocol for a polarization curve found in Table P.6. A 25°C dew point is used only for 30°C operation.
k Based on testing performed at LANL using a Gore MEA with high cathode loading (0.1/0.4 mgPGM/cm2 anode/cathode) and SGL GDLs (25BC/25BC). Rod Borup, presentation to the Fuel Cell Tech Team, July 15, 2015.
l Ratio of voltage at 90°C to voltage at 80°C during operation at 1.0 A/cm2, measured using the protocol for a polarization curve found in Table P.6. A 59°C dew point is used for both 90°C and 80°C operations.
m Ratio of voltage at 30°C transient operation to voltage at 80°C steady-state operation at 1.0 A/cm2, measured using the protocol for a polarization curve found in Table P.6. A 25°C dew point is used only for 30°C operation. 30°C transient operation is at 1 A/cm2 for at least 15 minutes then lowered to 0.1 A/cm2 for 3 minutes without changing operating conditions. After 3 minutes, the current density is returned to 1 A/cm2. The voltage is measured 5 seconds after returning to 1 A/cm2.

Technical Targets: Membranes for Transportation Applications

CharacteristicUnits2015 Status2020 Targets
Maximum oxygen cross-over amA/cm22.4 b2
Maximum hydrogen cross-over amA/cm21.1 c2
Area specific proton resistance at:   
      Maximum operating temperature and water partial pressures from 40–80 kPaohm cm20.072 (120°C, 40 kPa) c0.02
      80°C and water partial pressures from 25–45 kPaohm cm20.027 (25 kPa) c0.02
      30°C and water partial pressures up to 4 kPaohm cm20.027 (4 kPa) c0.03
      -20°Cohm cm20.1 b0.2
Maximum operating temperature°C120 c120
Minimum electrical resistanceohm cm2>5,600 c1,000
Cost d$/m217 e20
Durability f   
      MechanicalCycles until >15 mA/cm2 H2 crossover g23,000 c20,000
      ChemicalHours until >15 mA/cm2 crossover or >20% loss in OCV742 c>500
      Combined chemical/mechanicalCycles until >15 mA/cm2 crossover or >20% loss in OCV20,000

a Tested in MEA on O2 or H2, 80°C, fully humidified gases, 1 atm total pressure. For H2 test methods, see M. Inaba et. al. Electrochimica Acta, 51, 5746, 2006. For O2 test methods, see Zhang et. al. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 160, F616-F622, 2013.
b 14 μm PFIA membrane with nanofiber support. M. Yandrasits (3M), private communication, February 1, 2016.
c Reinforced and chemically stabilized PFIA membrane. M. Yandrasits et al. (3M), U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program 2015 Annual Progress Report.
d Costs projected to high-volume production (500,000 80 kW systems per year).
e Cost when producing sufficient membrane for 500,000 systems per year. DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Record 15015, "Fuel Cell System Cost—2015."
f Measured according to protocols in Table P.3, Table P.4, and Table P.5.
g For air or N2 testing, an equivalent crossover metric of 0.1 sccm/cm2 at a 50 kPa pressure differential, 80ºC, and 100%RH may be used as an alternative.

Technical Targets: Electrocatalysts for Transportation Applications

CharacteristicUnits2015 Status2020 Targets
Platinum group metal total content (both electrodes) ag/kW (rated,b gross) @ 150 kPa (abs)0.16 c,d0.125
Platinum group metal (PGM) total loading (both electrodes) amg PGM/cm2 electrode area0.13 c0.125
Mass activity eA/mg PGM @ 900 mVIR-free>0.5 f0.44
Loss in initial catalytic activity e% mass activity loss66 c<40
Loss in performance at 0.8 A/cm2 emV13 c<30
Electrocatalyst support stability g% mass activity loss41 h<40
Loss in performance at 1.5 A/cm2 gmV65 h<30
PGM-free catalyst activityA/cm2 @ 0.9 VIR-free0.016 i>0.044 j

a PGM content and loading targets may have to be lower to achieve system cost targets.
b Rated power operating point depends on MEA temperature and is defined as the voltage at which V = 77.6 / (22.1 + T[°C]), based on target of Q/ΔTi = 1.45 kW/°C and definition of Q/ΔTi from Table 3.4.4, with an approximation of MEA temperature as equal to stack coolant outlet temperature.
c Steinbach et al. (3M), "High-Performance, Durable, Low-Cost Membrane Electrode Assemblies for Transportation Applications," 2014 Annual Merit Review.
d Based on MEA gross power at 150 kPa abs. Measured at 0.692 V and 90°C, satisfying Q/ΔT < 1.45 kW/°C. At 250 kPa abs status is 0.12 g/kW.
e Measured using protocol in Table P.1.
f Kongkanand et al. (General Motors), "High-Activity Dealloyed Catalysts," 2014 Annual Merit Review.
g Measured using protocol in Table P.2.
h B. Popov et al., "Development of Ultra-low Doped-Pt Cathode Catalysts for PEM Fuel Cells," 2015 Annual Merit Review.
i P. Zelenay (LANL), "Non-Precious Metal Fuel Cell Cathodes: Catalyst Development and Electrode Structure Design,” 2016 Annual Merit Review.
j Target is equivalent to PGM catalyst mass activity target of 0.44 A/mgPGM at 0.1 mgPGM/cm2.

Technical Targets: Bipolar Plates for Transportation Applications

CharacteristicUnits2015 Status2020 Targets
Cost a$/kWnet7 b3
Plate weightkg/kWnet<0.4 c0.4
Plate H2 permeation coefficient dStd cm3/(sec cm2Pa) @ 80°C, 3 atm, 100% RH0 e<1.3x10-14 f
Corrosion, anode gµA/cm2no active peak h<1 and no active peak
Corrosion, cathode iµA/cm2<0.1 c<1
Electrical conductivityS/cm>100 j>100
Areal specific resistance kohm cm20.006 h<0.01
Flexural strength lMPa>34 (carbon plate) m>25
Forming elongation n%20–40 o40

a Costs projected to high volume production (500,000 80 kW systems per year), assuming MEA meets performance target of 1,000 mW/cm2.
b Cost when producing sufficient plates for 500,000 systems per year. DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Record 15015, "Fuel Cell System Cost—2015."
c C.H. Wang (Treadstone), "Low-cost PEM Fuel Cell Metal Bipolar Plates," 2012 Annual Progress Report.
d Per the standard gas transport test (ASTM D1434).
e C.H. Wang (Treadstone), private communication, October 2014.
f Blunk, et al., J. Power Sources 159 (2006) 533–542.
g pH 3 0.1ppm HF, 80°C, peak active current <1x10-6 A/cm2 (potentiodynamic test at 0.1 mV/s, -0.4V to +0.6V (Ag/AgCl)), de-aerated with Ar purge.
h Kumar, M. Ricketts, and S. Hirano, "Ex-situ evaluation of nanometer range gold coating on stainless steel substrate for automotive polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell bipolar plate," Journal of Power Sources 195 (2010): 1401–1407, September 2009.
i pH 3 0.1ppm HF, 80°C, passive current <5x10-8 A/cm2 (potentiostatic test at +0.6V (Ag/AgCl) for >24h, aerated solution.
j O. Adrianowycz (GrafTech), "Next Generation Bipolar Plates for Automotive PEM Fuel Cells," 2009 Annual Progress Report.
k Includes interfacial contact resistance (on as received and after potentiostatic test) measured both sides per Wang, et al. J. Power Sources 115 (2003) 243–251 at 200 psi (138 N/cm2).
l ASTM-D 790-10 Standard Test Method for Flexural Properties of Unreinforced and Reinforced Plastics and Electrical Insulating Materials.
m D. Haack et al. (Porvair), "Carbon-Carbon Bipolar Plates," 2007 Annual Progress Report.
n Per ASTM E8M-01 Standard Test Methods for Tension Testing of Metallic Materials, or demonstrate ability to stamp generic channel design with width, depth, and radius.
o M. Brady et al. (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), "Nitrided Metallic Bipolar Plates," 2010 Annual Progress Report.