In this work, we present a neutron radiography and analysis, as well as modeling study on cold-start operation of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. Fuel cells with Gore™ or LANL MEAs and SGL or E-Tek ELAT GDLs are tested in varying subfreezing temperatures (−40 to 0°C) to determine the time scale of cold-start failure, amount of solid water formation, solid water formation location, and. A higher PTFE-loading in the MPL is found to decrease loss in electrocatalytic surface area in our case. Theoretical analysis is also conducted and model predictions are compared with the experimental data in terms of the cell voltage evolution.

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