Research Papers

Design and Experimental Investigation of a Heat Pipe Supported External Cooling System for HT-PEFC Stacks

[+] Author and Article Information
Jen Supra

e-mail: j.supra@fz-juelich.de

Holger Janßen

Institute of Energy and Climate Research,
IEK-3: Electrochemical Process Engineering,
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH,
Jülich 52425, Germany

Werner Lehnert

Institute of Energy and Climate Research,
IEK-3: Electrochemical Process Engineering,
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH,
Jülich 52425, Germany;
Modeling in Electrochemical
Process Engineering,
RWTH Aachen University,
Aachen 52062, Germany

Detlef Stolten

Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH,
Institute of Energy and Climate Research,
IEK-3: Electrochemical Process Engineering,
Jülich 52425, Germany;
Chair for Fuel Cells,
RWTH Aachen University,
Aachen 52062, Germany

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received April 17, 2013; final manuscript received July 10, 2013; published online August 13, 2013. Editor: Nigel M. Sammes.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 10(5), 051002 (Aug 13, 2013) (7 pages) Paper No: FC-13-1036; doi: 10.1115/1.4025052 History: Received April 17, 2013; Revised July 10, 2013

A 10-cell high-temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cell (HT-PEFC) stack with an active cell area of 200 cm2 has been built up and tested with regard to the temperature distribution from cell to cell and over the active area since not every cell is cooled. Measurements with artificial reformate as a fuel show that the vertical temperature distribution over the active area is sufficiently small, with a maximum of 5.1 K at 550 mA cm−2. Additionally, the temperature gradient from cell to cell is sufficiently small with 10.7 K at 550 mA cm−2. As a result, it can be concluded that the heat pipe supported external cooling is well suited to cool HT-PEFC stacks with large active areas in reformate operation.

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Fig. 1

Schematic structure of a heat pipe

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Fig. 2

Calculated amount of heat to be dissipated for a 10-cell stack, with Aactive = 200 cm2, adiabatic, anode gas: synthetic reformate (42% H2, 57% N2, 1% CO); cathode gas: air, λair/ref = 2/2, Tin,gas = 160 °C, Tout,gas = 170 °C

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Fig. 3

Initial stack (top), and derived CFD model (bottom)

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Fig. 4

CFD simulated temperature distribution of operating points at current densities of 200, 300, 400, and 500 mA cm−2

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Fig. 5

CFD simulations at different oil inlet boundary conditions (ideal insulation, λair/ref = 2/2, reformate (42% H2, 57% N2, 1% CO), and temperatures of all MEA areas are volume averaged)

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Fig. 6

Experimental setup to verify the simulations

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Fig. 7

Comparison of the experiment and the CFD simulation at oil inlet conditions of Toil,in = 120 °C and Voil,in = 6 L min−1

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Fig. 8

Heat pipe supported externally cooled 10-cell HT-PEFC stack with a 200 cm2 active MEA area; photo (top), and CAD setup (bottom)

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Fig. 10

Polarization curve and the resulting stack power

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Fig. 11

Temperature distribution in the vertical direction over the active area with the fixed oil inlet conditions of Toil,in = 120 °C and Voil,in = 6 L min−1

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Fig. 12

Temperature distribution from cell to cell for Toil,in = 120  °C and Voil,in = 6 L min−1

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Fig. 13

Average stack temperature at different fixed oil inlet conditions

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Fig. 14

Average stack temperatures (T1–T14) for controlled oil inlet conditions




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