Standard Article

Performance impact of cationic contaminants

Advances in Electrocatalysis, Materials, Diagnostics and Durability

Advanced diagnostics, models and design

Low-temperature fuel cells

  1. B. S. Pivovar,
  2. B. Kienitz,
  3. T. Rockward,
  4. F. A. Uribe,
  5. F. H. Garzon

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f500048

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Pivovar, B. S., Kienitz, B., Rockward, T., Uribe, F. A. and Garzon, F. H. 2010. Performance impact of cationic contaminants. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Although a major amount of research has been undertaken on failure modes of fuel cell durability, relatively little research has been carried out on cationic contamination. One of the primary issues of cationic contamination is the low level of contaminant needed to impact a cell. The uptake of contaminant cations leads to dramatically decreased performance even at low levels of incorporation. Foreign cations replacing protons in the ionomer phase likely increase ohmic, kinetic, and mass transport losses in the cell and may alter cell thermodynamics. At this point in time, little is known about the rates of exposure, uptake, and escape of contaminant cations in operating fuel cells. The extent of performance loss following cationic contamination and recovery of performance after contamination are discussed in terms of cation contaminant impact on fuel cell durability.


  • Polymer electrolyte fuel cell;
  • cation contamination;
  • cationic contaminants;
  • durability;
  • metal bipolar plates;
  • ammonia;
  • hydrogen quality