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Technical Briefs

Modeling of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell With a Large Active Area for Thermal Behavior Analysis

[+] Author and Article Information
Dohoy Jung1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Michigan, 1231 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2133dohoy@umich.edu

Sangseok Yu, Dennis N. Assanis

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Michigan, 1231 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2133

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 5(4), 044502 (Sep 11, 2008) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2971019 History: Received December 14, 2006; Revised October 16, 2007; Published September 11, 2008

A numerical model of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell has been developed to predict the performance of a large active area fuel cell with the water cooling thermal management system. The model includes three submodels for water transport, electrochemical reaction, and heat transfer. By integrating those submodels, local electric resistance and overpotential depending on the water and temperature distribution can be predicted. In this study the effects of the inlet gas temperature and humidity on the fuel cell performance are explored, and the effect of the temperature distribution at different coolant temperatures is investigated. The results show that the changes in local electric resistance due to temperature distribution cause fuel cell power decrease. Therefore, the coolant temperature and flow rate should be controlled properly depending on the operating conditions in order to minimize the temperature distribution while maximizing the power output of the fuel cell.

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Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of the PEMFC with channel layers

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Figure 2

The effect of the inlet gas temperature on the fuel cell performance (ν, stoichiometry flow coefficient)

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Figure 3

The effect of the inlet gas humidity on the fuel cell performance

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Figure 4

Temperature distribution on the fuel cell

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Figure 5

Gas temperature variation along the channel

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Figure 6

Water content distribution on the anode electrode

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Figure 7

Water content distribution on the cathode electrode

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Figure 8

Electric resistance variation in the membrane electrolyte

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Figure 9

Polarization curves over various cooling conditions

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Figure 10

Coolant flow rate changes with coolant inlet temperatures

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Figure 11

Net power comparisons for three cooling conditions

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