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Research Papers

Advanced Study of Non-Uniform Cell Voltage Distribution for a PEMFC Stack

[+] Author and Article Information
Shuang Zhai, Fengxiang Chen

 College of Automotive Engineering, Tongji University, 4800 Caoan Road, Shanghai 201804, China

Su Zhou1

 College of Automotive Engineering, Tongji University, 4800 Caoan Road, Shanghai 201804, Chinasuzhou@tongji.edu.cn

Pengtao Sun

 Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154

Kai Sundmacher

 Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Sandtorstraße 1, Magdeburg 39106, Germany

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 9(1), 011014 (Dec 22, 2011) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005121 History: Received December 07, 2010; Revised July 01, 2011; Published December 22, 2011; Online December 22, 2011

In this paper, a fully coupled non-isothermal, electrochemical, and transport 3D model for a 10-cell PEMFC stack with coolant channels is constructed and implemented to examine and compare the influence factors to the stack performance. The first case to be considered is under different thermal operation conditions, including thermostatic, adiabatic, and heat exchange operation. The corresponding results show that a better uniformity and the largest stack output power density can be obtained under heat exchange operation. The other case is to compare the effects of heat transfer coefficients for different materials (ranging from 5 W/(m2 ·K) to 50 W/(m2 ·K)) on the spatial non-homogeneity of stack voltage and output power density. Numerical results indicate that the degree of the non-uniformity of individual cell voltage can be minimized, and the output power density can be elevated to a certain degree when the heat transfer coefficient is set as 25 W/(m2 ·K). In addition, an attempt is carried out to investigate the changes of some important variables due to the tolerance stacking or performance degradation, where we assume some cells’ contact resistance increases. We observe that a large jump of cell voltage and temperature occurs, which can be used as a detection signal for stack safety operation.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

The geometry of the stack and detailed flow filed of a single fuel cell

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Figure 2

Distributions of voltage variances and temperature profiles under different types of thermal operation conditions at a stack output voltage of 8 V

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Figure 3

Distributions of voltage variances and temperature profiles under different types of thermal operation conditions at a stack output voltage of 6.5 V

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Figure 4

Comparisons of stack output power and standard deviation

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Figure 5

Comparisons of voltage variances and temperature profiles under different heat transfer coefficients

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Figure 6

Comparisons of stack output power and standard deviation under different heat transfer coefficients

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Figure 7

Distributions of voltage variances and temperature profiles under different assumed degradation cases

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Figure 8

Comparison of stack output power and standard deviation

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