Research Papers

Nonisothermal Hydrodynamic Modeling of the Flowing Electrolyte Channel in a Flowing Electrolyte–Direct Methanol Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Eric Duivesteyn

e-mail: eduivest@connect.carleton.ca

Cynthia A. Cruickshank

e-mail: ccruicks@mae.carleton.ca

Edgar Matida

e-mail: edgar.matida@mae.carleton.ca
Carleton University,
1126 Colonel By Drive,
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received August 19, 2013; final manuscript received September 24, 2013; published online December 10, 2013. Editor: Nigel M. Sammes.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 11(2), 021011 (Dec 10, 2013) (6 pages) Paper No: FC-13-1073; doi: 10.1115/1.4025932 History: Received August 19, 2013; Revised September 24, 2013

The performance of a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) can be significantly reduced by methanol crossover. One method to reduce methanol crossover is to utilize a flowing electrolyte channel. This is known as a flowing electrolyte–direct methanol fuel cell (FE–DMFC). In this study, recommendations for the improvement of the flowing electrolyte channel design and operating conditions are made using previous modeling studies on the fluid dynamics in the porous domain of the flowing electrolyte channel and on the performance of a 1D isothermal FE-DMFC incorporating multiphase flow, in addition to modeling of the nonisothermal effects on the fluid dynamics of the FE-DMFC flowing electrolyte channel. The results of this study indicate that temperature difference between flowing electrolyte inflow and the fuel cell have negligible hydrodynamic implications, except that higher fuel-cell temperatures reduce pressure drop. Reducing porosity and increasing permeability is recommended, with a porosity of around 0.4 and a porous-material microstructure typical dimension around 60–70 μm being potentially suitable values for achieving these goals.

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Fig. 1

Schematic of DMFC [7]

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Fig. 2

Schematic of FE-DMFC [7]

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Fig. 3

Simulated pressure drops for various porosities and permeabilities for a 0.6-mm channel with a volume flux of 10 ml/min/(75 mm2) [7]

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Fig. 4

Simulated pressure drops for various porosities and sphere diameters for a 0.6-mm channel with a volume flux of 10 ml/min/(75 mm2) [7]

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Fig. 5

Pressure drops for varying fuel cell and flowing electrolyte inflow temperatures for a 0.6-mm channel with a volume flux of 10 ml/min/(75 mm2) (volume flux corrected to 25 °C)

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Fig. 6

Variation of water viscosity within temperature domain

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Fig. 7

Centerline temperature profile and fluid viscosity along 0.6-mm flowing electrolyte channel with volume flux of 10 ml/min/(75 mm2) at 80 °C (volume flux corrected to 25 °C)




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