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RESEARCH PAPERS

Multi-Resolution PEM Fuel Cell Model Validation and Accuracy Analysis

[+] Author and Article Information
Qingyun Liu

Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems,  Mississippi State University, Box 5405, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762-5405

Junxiao Wu1

Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems,  Mississippi State University, Box 5405, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762-5405jwu@cavs.msstate.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 3(1), 51-61 (Aug 02, 2005) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2134737 History: Received May 19, 2005; Revised August 02, 2005

A multi-resolution simulation method was developed for the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell simulation: a full 3D model was employed for the membrane and diffusion layer; a 1D+2D model was applied to the catalyst layer, that is, at each location of the fuel cell plate, the governing equations were integrated only in the direction perpendicular to the fuel cell plate; and a quasi-1D model with high numerical efficiency and reasonable accuracy was employed for the flow channels. The simulation accuracy was assessed in terms of the fuel cell polarization curves and membrane Ohmic overpotential. Overall, good agreements between the simulated results and the experimental data were obtained. However, at large current densities, with high relative humidity reactant inputs, the simulation under-predicted the fuel cell performance due to the single-phase assumption; the simulation slightly over-predicted the fuel cell performance for a dry cathode input, possibly due to the nonlinearity of the membrane properties in dehydration case. Further, a parameter study was performed under both fully humidified and relatively dry conditions for the parameters related to the cathode catalyst layer and the gas diffusion layer (GDL). It is found that the effects of liquid water in both the GDL and catalyst layer on the cell performance, and the accurate identification of the cathode catalyst layer parameters such as the cathodic transfer coefficient should be focused for future studies in order to further improve the model accuracy.

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Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Data flowchart among the related modules

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Figure 2

The grid of the 3-channel serpentine gas flow channel employed for both the anode and cathode sides

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Figure 5

The predicted polarization curves and the membrane Ohmic overpotential: (a) anode inlet RH is fixed at 100%; (b) anode inlet RH is fixed at 80%; (c) anode inlet RH is fixed at 70%; (d) comparison of dry and wet cathode.

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Figure 6

Sensitivity of different catalyst layer and GDL parameters on the polarization curves. The symbols “+” and “−” denote the increase and decrease of the related parameters compared with the base case value, respectively. (a) Fully humidified cathode and anode reactant inputs; (b) anode inlet RH is 70%, and cathode inlet RH is 30%.

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Figure 3

Comparison of polarization curves and membrane Ohmic overpotential for different cathode inlet air RH, while maintaining a fully humidified anode inlet condition. The cathode inlet air RH is (a) 100%; (b) 70%; (c) 50%; (d) 30%.

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Figure 4

Comparison of polarization curves and membrane Ohmic overpotential for different cathode inlet air RH, while maintaining anode inlet RH as 80%. The cathode inlet air RH is (a) 100%; (b) 70%; (c) 50%; (d) 30%.

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