Kuo-Lin Huang 1, Tsung-Hsuan Tsai1, Shui-Jen Chen1, How-Ran Chao1, Yi-Ming Kuo2, Jen-Hsiung Tsai1

Department of Environmental Engineering and Science, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Neipu, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
Department of Safety Health and Environmental Engineering, Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology, Tainan City 71703, Taiwan

Received: October 25, 2017
Revised: November 16, 2017
Accepted: November 17, 2017
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2017.10.0410  

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Cite this article:
Huang, K.L., Tsai, T.H., Chen, S.J., Chao, H.R., Kuo, Y.M. and Tsai, J.H. (2018). Gas- and Water-Phase PAHs Emitted from a Single Hydrogen-Oxygen PEM Fuel Cell. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 18: 433-443. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2017.10.0410


  • Gas- and water-phase PAHs emitted from a PEMFC are compared.
  • Temperature influences more on water-phase than on gas-phase PAH profiles.
  • The gas- and water-phase PAHs have different concentration profiles.
  • The emission factors of water-phase PAHs increase with increasing flowrate.
  • The emission factors are smaller for water-phase PAHs than for gas-phase ones.


This study focuses on the comparison between gas- and water-phase polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) emitted from a single hydrogen–oxygen proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell (FC) at different flowrates and temperatures. The results show that among 21 PAHs, the most and least dominant species were Nap and BeP, respectively. At 65°C, the concentrations of individual gas- and water-phase PAHs decreased with increasing flowrate, and the PAH concentrations were lower at the anode than those at the cathode. The concentrations of gas-phase Total-PAHs and Total-BaPeq were slightly lower at 65°C than those at 90°C, but an opposite trend was observed for water-phase ones. The temperature influenced water-phase PAH concentration profiles more than gas-phase ones, and the gas- and water-phase PAHs had different concentration profiles. The performance of membrane-electrode assembly (MEA) decreased with increasing flowrate or temperature. The emission factor (EF) sum (anode + cathode) for gas- or water-phase Total-PAHs increased with increasing flowrate. This tendency was also true for gas-phase Total-PAHs EFs but not for water-phase ones when raising the temperature from 65°C to 90°C. At 65°C and 52/35 sccm, the EF sums of water-phase Total-PAHs and Total-BaPeq were 2.18 ± 0.04 and 0.09 ± 0.00 µg g-MEA–1, respectively—smaller than those of gas-phase ones (3.02 ± 0.09 and 0.12 ± 0.00 µg g-MEA–1, respectively). More environmental concern should be directed at emitted gas-phase PAHs than at water-phase ones because the anode and cathode water effluents are usually recycled during PEMFC operations.

Keywords: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon; Proton exchange membrane fuel cell; Emission factor; Gas-phase PAH; Water-phase PAH.


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