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RESEARCH PAPER

Analysis of Single PEM Fuel Cell Performances Based on Current Density Distribution Measurement

[+] Author and Article Information
P. C. Ghosh1

Physical Chemistry Division, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune-411008, Indiapc.ghosh@ncl.res.in

T. Wüster, H. Dohle, N. Kimiaie, J. Mergel, D. Stolten

Institute for Materials and Processes in Energy Systems (IWV-3), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (FZJ), 52425 Jülich, Germany

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 3(3), 351-357 (Nov 10, 2005) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2173664 History: Received April 22, 2005; Revised November 10, 2005

A new in situ measurement method of mapping the current density distribution in polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFC) is used to analyze the performance of a fuel cell under different operating conditions. The present method is useful in investigating the current density distribution in a single cell as well as a stack, which carries the information about the local reactant activity over the electrode area. It was found that the current density close to the gas inlets is strongly influenced by the reactants' relative humidity. The performance close to the gas outlets is greatly influenced by the inlet gas pressures and the stoichiometry factors of the reactant gases, mainly on the cathode side. It was also observed that the performance of the fuel cell drops with the increase in operating temperature if the reactant gases are not sufficiently humidified.

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Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic diagram of the fuel cell and the measuring unit

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Figure 2

Numbering of the measurement points along the flow field on the cathode side

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Figure 3

Photograph of the experimental set-up

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Figure 4

(a) Local current density along the flow field at different overall current densities (0=cathode inlet, 1=cathode outlet); and (b) current-voltage characteristics at different points from inlet to outlet along the cathode flow field

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Figure 5

Current density distribution across the electrode area (Thumi=75°C; PH2∕air=2bar; λH2=1.1; λair=2; Tcell=70°C; cell voltage=559mV; total current=195.5A)

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Figure 6

(a) Overall current-voltage characteristic and power density for different inlet pressures; (b) influence of inlet gas pressure on the local current density at different points

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Figure 7

(a) Overall current-voltage characteristic and power density for different hydrogen stoichiometry factors; (b) influence of H2 stoichiometry on the local current density at different points

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Figure 8

(a) Overall current-voltage characteristic and power density for different air stoichiometry factors; (b) influence of air stoichiometry on the local current density at different points

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Figure 9

(a) Influence of H2 humidity on the local current density at different points; (b) influence of air humidity on the local current density at different points

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Figure 10

(a) Overall current-voltage characteristic and power density at Tcell=60°C, 70°C, and 80°C; (b) influence of operating temperature on the local current density at different points

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Figure 11

Variation of dew point for different airflow rates at Thumi=65°C, 75°C, and 85°C

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Figure 12

Overall current-voltage characteristic at Tcell=85°C and Thumi=85°C and 95°C

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