Skip to content

Cell Failure Mechanisms in PEM Water Electrolyzers


PEM water electrolysis offers an efficient and flexible way to produce “green-hydrogen” from renewable (intermittent) energy sources. Most research papers published in the open literature on the subject are addressing performances issues and to date, very few information is available concerning the mechanisms of performance degradation and the associated consequences. Results reported in this communication have been used to analyze the failure mechanisms of PEM water electrolysis cells which can ultimately lead to the destruction of the electrolyzer. A two-step process involving firstly the local perforation of the solid polymer electrolyte followed secondly by the catalytic recombination of hydrogen and oxygen stored in the electrolysis compartments has been evidenced. The conditions leading to the onset of such mechanism are discussed and some preventive measures are proposed to avoid accidents.

Related subjects: Safety

Article metrics loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error