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Research Papers

Optimizing the Performance of a Single PEM Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Zhuqian Zhang, Li Jia

School of Mechanical Electronic and Control Engineering, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing, P.R.C.

Xia Wang1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Oakland University, Rochester, MIwang@oakland.edu

Xinxin Zhang

School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing, P.R.C.

1

Corresponding author

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 5(3), 031007 (May 23, 2008) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2889051 History: Received June 04, 2006; Revised August 24, 2007; Published May 23, 2008

A three-dimensional steady-state electrochemical mathematical model is developed where the mass, fluid, and thermal transport processes are considered, as well as the electrochemical reaction phenomena. The influences of the parameters of interest, which include porosity, permeability, and the thickness of the gas diffusion layer, and the inlet gas stoichiometric ratio on the performance of fuel cells are identified. By applying the Powell algorithm, the optimum values of multiple parameters are obtained while optimizing the potential of the electrolyte phase at the membrane/cathode interface at a typical value of the cell voltage. Compared with the reference case, the optimized results, such as the oxygen mole fraction and the local current density distribution, provide useful information for a better design of fuel cells.

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Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Physical model of PEM fuel cell

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Figure 2

Comparison between the numerical prediction and experimental data (19)

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Figure 3

The pressure drop in the GDL as a function of permeability and the gas inlet stoichiometric ratio

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Figure 4

The electrolyte fluid phase potential at the cathode/membrane interface as a function of permeability and the gas inlet stoichiometric ratio

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Figure 5

The pressure drop in the GDL as a function of porosity and the gas inlet stoichiometric ratio

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Figure 6

The electrolyte fluid phase potential at the cathode/membrane interface as a function of porosity and the gas inlet stoichiometric ratio

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Figure 7

Average electrolyte fluid phase potential at the cathode/membrane interface as a function of porosity and the GDL thickness

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Figure 8

Searching scheme of the Powell method

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Figure 9

Objective functions with iteration

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Figure 10

Contours of oxygen mole fraction in the GDL for (a) before and (b) after optimization

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Figure 11

Contours of oxygen mole fraction throughout the cathode thickness at three different Y locations (a) before and (b) after optimization

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Figure 12

Contours of current density over the membrane/cathode interface (a) before and (b) after optimization

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Figure 13

Comparison of the polarization curve before and after the optimization

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