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Research Papers

Computational Study of Edge Cooling for Open-Cathode Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Stacks

[+] Author and Article Information
Agus P. Sasmito

e-mail: ap.sasmito@gmail.com

Tariq Shamim

Mechanical Engineering,
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology,
Masdar City,
P.O. Box 54224, Abu Dhabi,
United Arab Emirates

Erik Birgersson

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
5 Engineering Drive 2,
Singapore, 117576, Singapore

Arun S. Mujumdar

Mechanical Engineering Department,
National University of Singapore,
9 Engineering Drive 1,
Singapore, 117576, Singapore

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received September 2, 2012; final manuscript received September 7, 2012; published online November 16, 2012. Editor: Nigel M. Sammes.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 9(6), 061008 (Nov 16, 2012) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4007792 History: Received September 02, 2012; Revised September 07, 2012

In open-cathode polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) stacks, a significant temperature rise can exist due to insufficient cooling, especially at higher current densities. To improve stack thermal management while reducing the cost of cooling, we propose a forced air-convection open-cathode fuel cell stack with edge cooling (fins). The impact of the edge cooling is studied via a mathematical model of the three-dimensional two-phase flow and the associated conservation equations of mass, momentum, species, energy, and charge. The model includes the stack, ambient, fan, and fins used for cooling. The model results predict better thermal management and stack performance for the proposed design as compared to the conventional open-cathode stack design, which shows potential for practical applications. Several key design parameters—fin material and fin geometry—are also investigated with regard to the stack performance and thermal management.

© 2012 by ASME
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Figures

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Fig. 2

Computational domain with ambient, stack, fan and fins

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Fig. 1

Schematic of an open-cathode PEFC stack equipped with fins and an external fan for efficient cooling and supply of air

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Fig. 8

SCCs for the open-cathode fuel cell stack edge cooling with fin lengths of 15 (), 30 (), and 60 mm (); the FCC for a fan power of 19.5 W (◀), and the operating point (○)

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Fig. 9

Comparison of the average stack temperature (···) and polarization curves (—) for fin lengths of 15 (), 30 (), and 60 mm (▾)

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Fig. 3

SCCs for the open-cathode fuel cell stack with a conventional design (▾), with additional air-coolant channels (), and with edge cooling (); FCC for a fan power of 19.5 W (), and operating point (○)

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Fig. 4

Comparison of the average stack temperature (···) and polarization curves (—) for the conventional open-cathode stack (▾), the open-cathode stack with additional air coolant channels (), and with edge cooling ()

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Fig. 5

Comparison of the average stack temperature (···) and polarization curves (—) for fin materials of stainless steel (▾), expanded graphite SGL SIGRAFLEX (), and aluminum ()

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Fig. 6

SCCs for the open-cathode fuel cell stack edge cooling with fin thicknesses of 2 (), 1 (), and 0.5 mm (); the FCC for a fan power of 19.5 W (◀), and the operating point (○)

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Fig. 7

Comparison of the average stack temperature (···) and polarization curves (—) for fin thicknesses of 2 (), 1 (), and 0.5 mm (▾)

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