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TECHNICAL PAPERS

Numerical Modeling of a Single Channel Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
N. Vasileiadis, D. J. L. Brett

Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK

V. Vesovic

Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK

A. R. Kucernak

Dept. of Chemistry, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK

E. Fontes

 Comsol AB, Stockholm, Sweden

N. P. Brandon1

Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UKn.brandon@imperial.ac.uk

1

Corresponding author

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 4(3), 336-344 (Jun 21, 2006) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2756557 History: Received November 10, 2005; Revised June 21, 2006

A two-dimensional model of a single-channel polymer fuel cell has been developed. To achieve model validation, current mapping experiments were performed on the cathode side of a single-channel polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) of various channel widths, at different reactant flow rates and over a range of operating cell voltages. The fuel side was operated in cross-flow mode, with a high stoichiometric excess of hydrogen to ensure no limitations in anode performance as a function of position along the channel. The solution domain comprises seven regions, (two inlet channels, two diffusers, two active catalyst layers, and a membrane) and considers transport of hydrogen and water vapor in the anode and oxygen and nitrogen and water vapor in the cathode. The resulting set of coupled differential equations was solved numerically with FEMLAB®, a MATLAB®-based software. The model has been compared to data from a single-channel PEFC, and good agreement between experiment and theory was obtained.

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Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

(a) Schematic of the fuel cell and (b) schematic of agglomerate model

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Figure 2

Predicted current density across the middle of the cell (y=H∕2) for various cell voltages: –◻– 0.8V, –◇– 0.6V, –▵– 0.4V, under the conditions detailed in Table 1: (a) ionic current density and (b) electronic current density

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Figure 3

Predicted ionic current density along the middle of the membrane (z=L∕2) for different cell voltages: –◻– 0.8V, –◇– 0.6V, –▵– 0.4V, under the conditions detailed in Table 1

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Figure 4

Predicted ionic potential across the middle of the cell (y=H∕2) for various cell voltages: –◻– 0.8V, –◇– 0.6V, –▵– 0.4V, under the conditions detailed in Table 1

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Figure 5

Predicted hydrogen and oxygen mole fraction down the centre of the channels at different cell voltages: –◻– 0.8V, –◇– 0.6V, –▵– 0.4V, under the conditions detailed in Table 1

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Figure 6

Predicted pressure profile across the middle of the cell (y=H∕2) at different cell voltages: –◻– 0.8V, –◇– 0.6V, –▵– 0.4V, under the conditions detailed in Table 1: (a) reactant gas pressure and (b) hydraulic liquid water pressure

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Figure 7

Comparison between experimental and calculated current density on the cathode side of: (a)1mm wide single channel PEFC, with a 30cm3min airflow rate at a cell voltage of 0.8V; (b)2mm wide single-channel PEFC, with a 20cm3min−1 airflow rate at a cell voltage of 0.5V; (c)0.5mm wide single-channel PEFC, with a 10cm3min−1 flow rate at a cell voltage of 0.3V

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Figure 8

Predicted and measured cathode polarization plots in the single-channel PEFC for an airflow rate of 10cm3min−1 and a channel width of 1mm: (a) at the beginning (0.0065m) of the channel, (b) at the middle (0.05m) of the channel, and (c) at the end (0.0975m) of the channel

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