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Research Papers

The Effect of Inlet Parameters on Fluid Flow and Cell Performance at Cathode of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Utku Gulan

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Gazi University, Maltepe 06570, Ankara, Turkeyutkugulan@gazi.edu.tr

Hasmet Turkoglu1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Gazi University, Maltepe 06570, Ankara, Turkeyhasmet@gazi.edu.tr

Irfan Ar

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Gazi University, Maltepe 06570, Ankara, Turkeyirfanar@gazi.edu.tr

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(4), 041002 (Apr 05, 2010) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3211097 History: Received October 14, 2008; Revised May 08, 2009; Published April 05, 2010; Online April 05, 2010

In this study, the fluid flow and cell performance in cathode side of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell were numerically analyzed. The problem domain consists of cathode gas channel, cathode gas diffusion layer, and cathode catalyst layer. The equations governing the motion of air, concentration of oxygen, and electrochemical reactions were numerically solved. A computer program was developed based on control volume method and SIMPLE algorithm. The mathematical model and program developed were tested by comparing the results of numerical simulations with the results from literature. Simulations were performed for different values of inlet Reynolds number and inlet oxygen mole fraction at different operation temperatures. Using the results of these simulations, the effects of these parameters on the flow, oxygen concentration distribution, current density and power density were analyzed. The simulations showed that the oxygen concentration in the catalyst layer increases with increasing Reynolds number and hence the current density and power density of the PEM fuel cell also increases. Analysis of the data obtained from simulations also shows that current density and power density of the PEM fuel cell increases with increasing operation temperature. It is also observed that increasing the inlet oxygen mole fraction increases the current density and power density.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

The problem domain and coordinate system

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Figure 2

Comparison of numerical results with experimental data (εdl=0.4, T=353 K)

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Figure 3

Air velocity profile at the vertical midplane for different inlet velocities (T=353 K, εdl=0.4, and εcl=0.4)

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Figure 4

Oxygen mole fraction distribution along the channel for different inlet velocities: (a) Re=18, (b) Re=25, and (c) Re=32

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Figure 5

Oxygen mole fraction at the vertical midplane of the cell for different inlet velocities

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Figure 6

Power density versus current density curves for different inlet velocities

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Figure 7

Voltage-current density curves for different inlet velocities

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Figure 8

Oxygen mole fraction distribution along the channel for different inlet oxygen mole fractions: (a) 10%, (b) 20%, and (c) 30%

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Figure 9

Oxygen mole fraction at the vertical midplane of the cell for different inlet mole fractions

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Figure 10

Power density-current density curves for different inlet oxygen mole fractions

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Figure 11

Voltage-current density curves for different inlet oxygen mole fractions

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Figure 12

Oxygen mole fraction distribution along the channel for different operation temperatures: (a) 303 K, (b) 323 K, and (c) 353 K

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Figure 14

Power density versus current density curves for different operation temperatures

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Figure 13

Oxygen mole fraction at the vertical midplane of the cell for different operation temperatures

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Figure 15

Voltage versus current density curves for different operation temperatures

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