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Effect of Operating Conditions on PAHs Emission from a Single H2-O2 PEM Fuel Cell

Category: Air Toxics

Volume: 16 | Issue: 9 | Pages: 2186-2197
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2016.06.0280
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Kuo-Lin Huang 1, Ming-Sheng Wu1, Jen-Hsiung Tsai1, Ding-Yan Lin1, Shui-Jen Chen1, Wen-Jhy Lee2

  • 1 Department of Environmental Engineering and Science, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
  • 2 Department of Environmental Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City 70101, Taiwan


The emitted Total-PAHs sum concentration increases at anode/cathode gas flowrates ≠ 52/35 sccm.
The emitted Total-PAHs sum concentration decreases with increasing sampling time.
64% of PAH mass is emitted within two-thirds of sampling time.
The temperature of PEMFC slightly influences the PAH emission.
The Total-PAHs emission factors follows the order SGL > E-TEK > E-TEK2 > GORE.


This study investigates the emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from a single hydrogen-oxygen proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell (FC) under different flowrates, temperatures, sampling periods, and membrane-electrode assemblies (MEAs). The results show that Nap, PA, BeP, FL, Pyr, BbC, Ant, and Flu were dominant in anode and cathode emissions of the single PEMFC under different operating conditions. The emission concentrations of Total-PAHs and Total-BaP equivalent carcinogenic potency (BaPeq) were lower from the anode than from the cathode emission. Moreover, the concentrations of molecular-weight (MW) classified PAHs were in the order low (L) MM- > high (H) MW- > middle (M) MW-PAHs. When the anode/cathode gas flowrates were greater or smaller than 52/35 sccm but at the same sampling volume, the emission concentrations of Total-PAHs and Total-BaPeq increased. The concentration of Total-PAHs decreased but the mass of Total-PAHs increased with the increase of sampling time. However, 64% and 82% of PAH mass were emitted within 12 and 24 h, respectively, based on 36 h sampling at anode/cathode gas flowrates = 52/35 sccm. The concentrations of Total-PAHs or Total-BaPeq of anode or cathode emission were slightly higher at 90°C than at 65°C.

The performances of commercial MEAs were in the order SGL < E-TEK < GORE. Nevertheless, the concentrations of anode or cathode emission Total-PAHs or Total-BaPeq for the PEMFC using different MEAs followed the order GORE > E-TEK2 > E-TEK > SGL, while the sums of anode and cathode Total-PAHs emission factors varied with the order SGL > E-TEK > E-TEK2 > GORE (13.3 ± 0.55, 11.5 ± 0.21, 7.91 ± 0.47, and 3.17 ± 0.22 µg g–1-MEA, respectively). When using the (lab-made) E-TEK2 as the MEA of PEMFC, the PAH profiles of anode and cathode emission gases were similar to those of some carbon materials.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon Proton exchange membrane fuel cell Emission factor

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