The differences in welfare amongst European countries are especially evident in border regions, and this affects cross-border cooperation and relationships. Due to the historical development of Central and Eastern European countries over the last century, the affected countries are unique “laboratories” for geographical research. This study assesses disparities in socio-economic indicators representing socio-economic phenomena in the Czech-Polish border region, through the analysis of cross-border (spatial) continuity, using quantitative methods (multivariate statistics and socio-economic profiling), GIS analysis and cartographic visualisation. It is demonstrated how such a combination of methods is useful for the comparison and evaluation of the complex socio-economic situations in neighbouring countries. This research project identifies the most suitable common indicators for a proper evaluation of cross-border (spatial) continuity, and it reveals the spatial patterns as reflected by a cluster analysis. The greatest cross-border (spatial) continuity is apparent in the easternmost part of the borderlands, while significant differences on both sides of the border are evident in the very central part of the areas under study. The paper also describes methodological aspects of the research in order to provide a quantitative approach to borderland studies.
The high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (HT-PEMFC) based on the polybenzimidazole (PBI) membrane doped with phosphoric acid (H3PO4) presents a promising route in the development of fuel cell technology. The higher operating temperature of 160–200 °C results in an increased tolerance of the platinum catalyst to the carbon monoxide, an improved electrode kinetics, a higher-grade heat produced by the fuel cell, and a simplified water management due to the absence of liquid water in the system. In this study, the accelerated stress test protocol (AST) corresponding to the Driving Duty Cycle was used to characterize two sets of commercial MEAs, by Danish Power Systems Ltd. and FuMA-tech GmbH, respectively. Performance characteristics prior to and after the AST procedure were measured. The changes in the resistivity of the MEA were examined by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The EIS data were analysed and interpreted by a suitable equivalent circuit that consisted of a resistor and the Voigt’s structure in series with constant phase elements. Conducted experiments and their analysis showed suitability of the HT-PEMFC technology in applications where dynamical load of the cell is expected. Moreover, the lower number of AST cycles did not seriously affect the cell performance. As expected, with increasing number of AST cycles, decrease in the cell performance was observed. In general, presented comparative study is expected to provide an extension of existing data for present and future development of diagnostic in the field of HT-PEMFC.