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Journal of Analytical Methods in Chemistry
Volume 2016, Article ID 6097285, 9 pages
Research Article

Mass Spectrometry of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

Department of Surface and Plasma Science, Charles University in Prague, V Holesovickach 2, 180 00 Prague 8, Czech Republic

Received 10 August 2016; Accepted 9 November 2016

Academic Editor: Gowda A. Nagana Gowda

Copyright © 2016 Viktor Johánek et al. 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.


The chemical analysis of processes inside fuel cells under operating conditions in either direct or inverted (electrolysis) mode and their correlation with potentiostatic measurements is a crucial part of understanding fuel cell electrochemistry. We present a relatively simple yet powerful experimental setup for online monitoring of the fuel cell exhaust (of either cathode or anode side) downstream by mass spectrometry. The influence of a variety of parameters (composition of the catalyst, fuel type or its concentration, cell temperature, level of humidification, mass flow rate, power load, cell potential, etc.) on the fuel cell operation can be easily investigated separately or in a combined fashion. We demonstrate the application of this technique on a few examples of low-temperature (70°C herein) polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (both alcohol- and hydrogen-fed) subjected to a wide range of conditions.