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Research Papers

Modeling of a Three-Dimensional Single-Phase Direct Methanol Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Alireza Bayat

Composite and Intelligent Materials Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Nevada, Reno,
Reno, NV 89557
e-mail: abayat@unr.edu

Nicholas Maus

Composite and Intelligent Materials Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Nevada, Reno,
Reno, NV 89557
e-mail: nmaus@unr.edu

Faramarz Gordaninejad

Composite and Intelligent Materials Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Nevada, Reno,
Reno, NV 89557
e-mail: faramarz@unr.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received September 13, 2016; final manuscript received February 1, 2017; published online February 28, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Jan Van herle.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 14(1), 011003 (Feb 28, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: JEECS-16-1125; doi: 10.1115/1.4035902 History: Received September 13, 2016; Revised February 01, 2017

A three-dimensional, full-scale, single-phase finite element model has been developed for a liquid-fed direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) with serpentine flow patterns. Equations for conservation of mass, momentum, and species are coupled with electrochemical kinetics in anode and cathode catalyst layers (CCLs). At the anode and cathode sides, only the liquid and the gas phases are considered, respectively. The significant benefit of a full-scale model is that the effect of physical parameters and distribution of the concentration of species can be realized in different channels for a desired section within the flow patterns. The model is used to study the effects of different operating parameters on fuel cell performance. Comparing numerical and experimental results demonstrate that the single-phase model slightly over-predicts the results for polarization plot. The modeling results also show that the porosity, temperature, and methanol concentration play a key role in affecting the DMFC polarization curve.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the geometry of full-scale 3D finite-element model with a detailed view of the different layers

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Fig. 2

(a) The experimental setup used for the performance test of the designed fuel cell and (b) comparison of polarization curves for modeling and experimental results at room temperature and 3 vol. % methanol

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Fig. 3

(a) Normalized pressure distributions at anode and (b) x component of the fuel flow velocity (m s−1) along cut lines z1,z2,z3 assigned in the middle points of the first, fifth, and 11th channels in z direction

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Fig. 4

(a) the methanol concentration distribution through different channels at anode, (b) polarization plot for different inlet methanol concentrations, and (c) variation of methanol concentration along cut lines z1,z2,z3 for 2M inlet concentration at room temperature and 3A cm−2 current density

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Fig. 5

Effects of different temperature on (a) polarization curves and (b) power density

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Fig. 6

Effects of different porosities of (a) ADL and (b) ACL on polarization curves

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