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Research Papers

Modeling and Experimental Analyses of a Two-Cell Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell Stack Emphasizing Individual Cell Characteristics

[+] Author and Article Information
Sang-Kyun Park1

Mechanical Engineering Department, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36848parksan@auburn.edu

Song-Yul Choe

Mechanical Engineering Department, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36848choe@eng.auburn.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 6(1), 011019 (Nov 18, 2008) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2972165 History: Received June 17, 2007; Revised October 04, 2007; Published November 18, 2008

Performance of individual cells in an operating polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack is different from each other because of inherent manufacturing tolerances of the cell components and unequal operating conditions for the individual cells. In this paper, first, effects of different operating conditions on performance of the individual cells in a two-cell PEM fuel cell stack have been experimentally investigated. The results of the experiments showed the presence of a voltage difference between the two cells that cannot be manipulated by operating conditions. The temperature of the supplying air among others predominantly influences the individual cell voltages. In addition, those effects are explored by using a dynamic model of a stack that has been developed. The model uses electrochemical voltage equations, dynamic water balance in the membrane, energy balance, and diffusion in the gas diffusion layer, reflecting a two-phase phenomenon of water. Major design parameters and an operating condition by conveying simulations have been changed to analyze sensitivity of the parameters on the performance, which is then compared with experimental results. It turns out that proton conductivity of the membrane in cells among others is the most influential parameter on the performance, which is fairly in line with the reading from the experimental results.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of experimental apparatus

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Figure 2

Output voltages and I-V curves of the two cells at a multiple step current

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Figure 3

Schematic simulation domain for a two cell stack model

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Figure 4

Schematic domain for the GDL with a two-phase phenomenon

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Figure 5

The stack voltage and the voltage difference under various air stoichiometric ratios at Tst=Tair.

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Figure 6

I-V characteristics of the cells and the voltage difference at various Tair and Tst

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Figure 7

I-V characteristics of the cells and the voltage difference at various Tair, Tst, and airstoich

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Figure 8

The voltage difference at various Tair, Tst, and airstoich

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Figure 9

Comparison of the stack and cell voltages between the experiments and the simulation

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Figure 10

Sensitivity analyses of the cathode GDL thickness on the cell voltages at different air temperatures

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Figure 11

Sensitivity analyses of the cathode GDL porosity on the cell voltages at different air temperatures

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Figure 12

Sensitivity analyses of the membrane thickness on the cell voltages at different air temperatures

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Figure 13

Sensitivity analyses of the proton conductivity on the cell voltages at different air temperatures

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Figure 14

Sensitivity analyses of the activation over-potential on the cell voltages at different air temperatures

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Figure 15

Sensitivity analyses of the air flow rate on the cell voltages at different air temperatures

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