Introduction

Sanyo'Electric has been concentrating on developing a marketable portable fuel cell using phosphoric acid fuel cells(PAFC). Due to the fact that this power source [l,2]uses PAFC that operate at low temperature around 100 °C , they are easier to handle compared to conventional fuel cells that operate at around 200 °C , they can also be expected to provide extended reliable operation because corrosion of the electrode material and deterioration of the electrode catalyst are almost completely nonexistent This power source is meant to be used independently and stored at room temperature. When it is started up, it generates electricity itself using its internal load to raise the temperature. As a result, the phosphoric acid (the electolyte) absorbs the reaction water when the temperature starts to be raised (around room temperature). At the same time the concentration and volume of the phosphoric acid changes, which may adversely affect the life time of the cell. We have studied means for starting, operating PAFC stack using methods that can simply evaluate changes in the concentration of the electrolyte in the stack with the aim of improving and extending cell life and report on them in this paper.

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