0
Research Papers

Effect of the Membrane Thermal Conductivity on the Performance of a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Iranzo

AICIA, Thermal Engineering Group,
School of Engineering,
University of Sevilla,
Camino de los Descubrimientos s/n,
Sevilla 41092, Spain
e-mail: airanzo@etsi.us.es

A. Salva, E. Tapia

AICIA, Thermal Engineering Group,
School of Engineering,
University of Sevilla,
Camino de los Descubrimientos s/n,
Sevilla 41092, Spain

F. Rosa

AICIA, Thermal Engineering Group,
Energy Engineering Department,
School of Engineering,
University of Sevilla,
Camino de los Descubrimientos s/n,
Sevilla 41092, Spain

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received July 27, 2012; final manuscript received January 16, 2014; published online January 30, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Abel Hernandez-Guerrero.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 11(3), 031007 (Jan 30, 2014) (7 pages) Paper No: FC-12-1067; doi: 10.1115/1.4026522 History: Received July 27, 2012; Revised January 16, 2014

The thermal conductivity of the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) of fuel cells is an important property affecting the overall cell performance. However, very few studies or fuel cell models include the dependence of this property on temperature and humidification conditions. In addition, no detailed studies have been reported for the quantitative understanding of how this property influences important aspects of the cell such as performance, water management, and membrane durability. This work presents results of a sensibility study performed for different membrane thermal conductivities, analyzing the influence of this parameter on the main cell response variables. The work has been performed with the aid of a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model developed for a 50 cm2 fuel cell with serpentine flow field bipolar plates, previously validated against experimental measurements. The results show to what extent the cell performance, water management, and durability issues such as MEA temperature gradients are influenced by the membrane thermal conductivity, especially at high current densities, leading up to a 50% increase in the cell electric power at 1000 mA/cm2 when the thermal conductivity of the membrane is set to 0.26 W/(m K) instead of to the base value of 0.13 W/(m K).

FIGURES IN THIS ARTICLE
<>
Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.

References

Li, Q., He, R., Jensen, J. O., and Bjerrum, N. J., 2003, “Approaches and Recent Development of Polymer Electrolyte Membranes for Fuel Cells Operating Above 100 °C,” Chem. Mater., 15(26), pp. 4896–4915. [CrossRef]
Li, Q., He, R., Jensen, J. O., and Bjerrum, N. J., 2004, “PBI-Based Polymer Membranes for High Temperature Fuel Cells—Preparation, Characterization and Fuel Cell Demonstration,” Fuel Cells, 4(3), pp. 147–159. [CrossRef]
Ma, Y. L., Wainright, J. S., Litt, M. H., and Savinell, R. F., 2004, “Conductivity of PBI Membranes for High-Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 151(1), pp. A8–A16. [CrossRef]
Springer, T. E., Zawodzinski, T. A., and Gottesfeld, S., 1991, “Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Model,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 138(8), pp. 2334–2342. [CrossRef]
Khandelwal, M., and Mench, M. M., 2006, “Direct Measurement of Through-Plane Thermal Conductivity and Contact Resistance in Fuel Cell Materials,” J. Power Sources, 161(2), pp. 1106–1115. [CrossRef]
Vie, P. J. S., and Kjelstrup, S., 2004, “Thermal Conductivities From Temperature Profiles in the Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell,” Electrochim. Acta, 49(7), pp. 1069–1077. [CrossRef]
Burheim, O., Vie, P. J. S., Pharoah, J. G., and Kjelstrup, S., 2010, “Ex Situ Measurements of Through-Plane Thermal Conductivities in a Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell,” J. Power Sources, 195(1), pp. 249–256. [CrossRef]
Zamel, N., Li, X., Shen, J., Becker, J., and Wiegmann, A., 2010, “Estimating Effective Thermal Conductivity in Carbon Paper Diffusion Media,” Chem. Eng. Sci., 65(13), pp. 3994–4006. [CrossRef]
Zamel, N., Litovsky, E., Shakhshir, S., Li, X., and Kleiman, J., 2011, “Measurement of In-Plane Thermal Conductivity of Carbon Paper Diffusion Media in the Temperature Range of −20 °C to +120 °C,” Appl. Energy, 88(9), pp. 3042–3050. [CrossRef]
Sadeghi, E., Djilali, N., and Bahrami, M., 2011, “A Novel Approach to Determine the In-Plane Thermal Conductivity of Gas Diffusion Layers in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells,” J. Power Sources, 196(7), pp. 3565–3571. [CrossRef]
Burheim, O. S., Pharoah, J. G., Lampert, H., Vie, P. J., and Kjelstrup, S., 2011, “Through-Plane Thermal Conductivity of PEMFC Porous Transport Layers,” ASME J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol., 8(2), p. 021013. [CrossRef]
Radhakrishnan, A., Lu, Z., and Kandlikar, S. G., 2010, “Effective Thermal Conductivity of Gas Diffusion Layers Used in PEMFC: Measured With Guarded-Hot-Plate Method and Predicted by a Fractal Model,” ECS Trans., 33(1), pp. 1163–1176. [CrossRef]
Karimi, G., Li, X., and Teertstra, P., 2010, “Measurement of Through-Plane Effective Thermal Conductivity and Contact Resistance in PEM Fuel Cell Diffusion Media,” Electrochim. Acta, 55(5), pp. 1619–1625. [CrossRef]
Nitta, I., Himanen, O., and Mikkola, M., 2008, “Modelling the Effect of Inhomogeneous Compression of GDL on Local Transport Phenomena in a PEM Fuel Cell,” Fuel Cells, 8(6), pp. 411–421. [CrossRef]
He, S., Mench, M. M., and Tadigadapa, S., 2006, “Thin Film Temperature Sensor for Real-Time Measurement of Electrolyte Temperature in a Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell,” Sensor. Actuat. A Phys., 125(2), pp. 170–177. [CrossRef]
Lee, C.-Y., Weng, F.-B., Cheng, C.-H., Shiu, H.-R., Jung, S.-P., Chang, W.-C., Chan, P.-C., Chen, W.-T., and Lee, C.-J., 2011, “Use of Flexible Micro-Temperature Sensor to Determine Temperature In Situ and to Simulate a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell,” J. Power Sources, 196(1), pp. 228–234. [CrossRef]
Wang, Y., and Wang, C. Y., 2006, “A Nonisothermal, Two-Phase Model for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 153(6), pp. A1193–A1200. [CrossRef]
Ju, H., Wang, C. Y., Cleghorn, S., and Beuscher, U., 2005, “Nonisothermal Modeling of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells I. Experimental Validation,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 152(8), pp. A1645–A1653. [CrossRef]
Sinha, P. K., Wang, C. Y., and Beuscher, U., 2007, “Transport Phenomena in Elevated Temperature PEM Fuel Cells,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 154(1), pp. B106–B116. [CrossRef]
Pasaogullari, U., 2009, “Heat and Water Transport Models for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells,” Handbook of Fuel Cells, Vol. 6, W.Vielstich, H.Yokokawa, and H. A.Gasteiger, eds., John Wiley, Chichester, UK.
Ju, H., Meng, H., and Wang, C. Y., 2005, “A Single-Phase, Non-Isothermal Model for PEM Fuel Cells,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 48(7), pp. 1303–1315. [CrossRef]
Siegel, C., 2008, “Review of Computational Heat and Mass Transfer Modeling in Polymer-Electrolyte-Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells,” Energy, 33(9), pp. 1331–1152. [CrossRef]
Iranzo, A., Muñoz, M., Rosa, F., and Pino, J., 2010, “Numerical Model for the Performance Prediction of a PEM Fuel Cell. Model Results and Experimental Validation,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 35(20), pp. 11533–11550. [CrossRef]
Iranzo, A., Muñoz, M., López, E., Pino, J., and Rosa, F., 2010, “Experimental Fuel Cell Performance Analysis Under Different Operating Conditions and Bipolar Plate Designs,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 35(20), pp. 11437–11447. [CrossRef]
Iranzo, A., Muñoz, M., Rosa, F., and Pino, J., 2011, “Update on Numerical Model for the Performance Prediction of a PEM Fuel Cell,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 36(15), pp. 9123–9127. [CrossRef]
“Fluent User Documentation v12.1,” 2010, Fluent Inc., Lebanon, NH.
Pasaogullari, U., and Wang, C. Y., 2004, “Liquid Water Transport in Gas Diffusion Layer of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 151(3), pp. A399–A406. [CrossRef]
Burford, D., Davis, T., and Mench, M. M., 2003, “Heat Transport and Temperature Distribution in PEFCS,” 2004 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Anaheim, CA, November 13–19, ASME Paper No. IMECE2004-59497. [CrossRef]
Wang, C. Y., 2004, “Fundamental Models for Fuel Cell Engineering,” Chem. Rev.104(10), pp. 4727–4765. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Wu, J., Yuan, X. Z., Martin, J. J., Wang, H., Zhang, J., Shen, J., Wu, S., and Merida, W., 2008, “A Review of PEM Fuel Cell Durability: Degradation Mechanisms and Mitigation Strategies,” J. Power Sources, 184(1), pp. 104–119. [CrossRef]
Collier, A., Wang, H., Zi Yuan, X., Zhang, J., and Wilkinson, D. P., 2006, “Degradation of Polymer Electrolyte Membranes,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 31(13), pp. 1838–1854. [CrossRef]
Schmittinger, W., and Vahidi, A., 2008, “A Review of the Main Parameters Influencing Long-Term Performance and Durability of PEM Fuel Cells,” J. Power Sources, 180(1), pp. 1–14. [CrossRef]

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Polarization curves obtained for the membrane thermal conductivities analyzed

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Power curves obtained for the membrane thermal conductivities analyzed

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Water content distribution at the MEA midplane at 1000 mA/cm2. Top: k = 0.13 W/(m K). Middle: k = 0.18 W/(m K). Bottom: k = 0.26 W/(m K).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Water saturation s (liquid water volume fraction) distribution at the cathode GDL-CL interface at 1000 mA/cm2. Top: k = 0.13 W/(m K). Middle: k = 0.18 W/(m K). Bottom: k = 0.26 W/(m K).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Temperature distribution at the MEA midplane at 1000 mA/cm2. Top: k = 0.13 W/(m K). Middle: k = 0.18 W/(m K). Bottom: k = 0.26 W/(m K).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Current density distribution at the MEA midplane at 1000 mA/cm2. Top: k = 0.13 W/(m K). Middle: k = 0.18 W/(m K). Bottom: k = 0.26 W/(m K).

Tables

Errata

Discussions

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In