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Research Papers

Effects of Microhydrophobic Porous Layer on Water Distribution in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Ramin Roshandel

e-mail: Roshandel@sharif.edu
Department of Energy Engineering,
Sharif University of Technology,
Tehran, Iran

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received December 11, 2012; final manuscript received August 1, 2013; published online October 22, 2013. Editor: Nigel M. Sammes.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 11(1), 011004 (Oct 22, 2013) (12 pages) Paper No: FC-12-1124; doi: 10.1115/1.4025522 History: Received December 11, 2012; Revised August 01, 2013

Performance of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) at high current densities is limited to transport reactants and products. Furthermore, large amounts of water are generated and may be condensed due to the low temperature of the PEMFC. Development of a two-phase flow model is necessary in order to predict water flooding and its effects on the PEMFC performance. In this paper, a multiphase mixture model (M2) is used, accurately, to model two-phase transport in porous media of a PEMFC. The cathode side, which includes channel, gas diffusion layer (GDL), microporous layer (MPL), and catalyst layer (CL), is considered as the computational domain. A multidomain approach has been used and transport equations are solved in each domain independently with appropriate boundary conditions between GDL and MPL. Distributions of species concentration, temperature, and velocity field are obtained, and the effects of MPL on species distribution and fuel cell performance are investigated. MPL causes a saturation jump and a discontinuity in oxygen concentration at the GDL/MPL interface. The effect of MPL thickness on fuel cell performance is also studied. The results revealed that the MPL can highly increase the maximum power of a PEMFC.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of a PEMFC cathode

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Fig. 3

The comparison of predicted polarization curve obtained by model with experimental result

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Fig. 17

Maximum power density for different cases

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Fig. 2

Capillary pressure curve for MPL and GDL

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Fig. 4

Oxygen mass fraction in cathode of PEMFC for the base case at current density of 0.7A/cm2

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Fig. 5

Oxygen mass fraction in cathode of PEMFC for the base case at current density of 2.5A/cm2

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Fig. 6

Liquid phase saturation in cathode of PEMFC for the base case at current density of 2.5A/cm2

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Fig. 7

Variation of oxygen mass fraction across a-a section for the base case at different current densities

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Fig. 8

Temperature distribution in cathode of PEMFC for the base case at current density of 0.7A/cm2

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Fig. 9

Temperature distribution in cathode of PEMFC for the base case at current density of 2.5A/cm2

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Fig. 10

Variation of oxygen mass fraction and current density along CL for the base case

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Fig. 11

Oxygen mass fraction distribution in the cathode of a PEMFC for case 2 at current density of 2.5A/cm2

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Fig. 12

Variation of oxygen mass fraction across a-a section for case 2 for two different current densities

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Fig. 13

Variation of oxygen mass fraction across a-a section for different cases

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Fig. 14

Variation of liquid phase saturation across a-a section for case 2

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Fig. 15

Fuel cell polarization curve for different cases

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Fig. 16

Power curve for different cases

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