Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells based on polybenzimidazole (PBI) polymers and phosphoric acid can be operated at temperature between 120 °C and 180 °C. Reactant humidification is not required and CO content up to 1% in the fuel can be tolerated, only marginally affecting performance. This is what makes high-temperature PEM (HTPEM) fuel cells very attractive, as low quality reformed hydrogen can be used and water management problems are avoided. From an experimental point of view, the major research effort up to now was dedicated to the development and study of high-temperature membranes, especially to development of acid-doped PBI type membranes. Some studies were dedicated to the experimental analysis of single cells and only very few to the development and characterization of high-temperature stacks. This work aims to provide more experimental data regarding high-temperature fuel cell stacks, operated with hydrogen but also with different types of reformates. The main design features and the performance curves obtained with a three-cell air-cooled stack are presented. The stack was tested on a broad temperature range, between 120 and 180 °C, with pure hydrogen and gas mixtures containing up to 2% of CO, simulating the output of a typical methanol reformer. With pure hydrogen, at 180 °C, the considered stack is able to deliver electrical power of 31 W at 1.8 V. With a mixture containing 2% of carbon monoxide, in the same conditions, the performance drops to 24 W. The tests demonstrated that the performance loss caused by operation with reformates, can be partially compensated by a higher stack temperature.

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