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Research Papers

Study of an Innovative Versatile Flow Design Suitable for Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Meenakshi

Department of Energy Science and Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay,
Mumbai 400076, India

Prakash C. Ghosh

Department of Energy Science and Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay,
Mumbai 400076, India
e-mail: pcghosh@iitb.ac.in

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received January 29, 2017; final manuscript received July 22, 2017; published online August 16, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Matthew Mench.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 14(4), 041003 (Aug 16, 2017) (7 pages) Paper No: JEECS-17-1015; doi: 10.1115/1.4037391 History: Received January 29, 2017; Revised July 22, 2017

Flow field plays an important role in the performances of the fuel cells, especially in large area fuel cells. In the present work, an innovative, versatile flow field, capable of combining in different conventional modes is reported and evaluated in a polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) with an active area of 150 cm2. The proposed design is capable of offering serpentine, interdigitated, counterflow, dead-end, and serpentine-interdigitated hybrid mode. Moreover, it is possible to switch over from one flow mode to another mode of flow during operation at any point of time. The flow design consists of the multichannel parallel serpentine flow (SP) field and a pair of an inlet and outlet manifolds instead of conventional single inlet and outlet manifold. Flow distribution was successfully altered without affecting the performances, and it was observed a combination of serpentine and interdigitated on the cathode side offered steady performance for more than 20 min when it was operated at a current density of 700 mA cm−2.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic diagram for single cell with gas distribution unit: (a) three-dimensional exploded view, (b) side-view, and (c) top-view of flow field

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Fig. 2

Schematic diagram of the gas distribution unit

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Fig. 3

Schematic representation of different modes of possible flow field operation with (a) SP FW1 + FW2, (b) SP FW1, (c) ID FW1, (d) SP FW1 + ID FW2, (e) SP FW1 + BW2, and (f) dead-end mode (inlet:; outlet:; closed:)

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Fig. 4

Photograph of (a) membrane electrode assembly, (b) flow field plate, (c) segmented, multilayered printed circuit board based current distribution mapping device (CDMA), and (d) setup consisting of the single cell and CDMA

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Fig. 5

Comparison of polarization behaviors with different flow fields on the anode side and serpentine (SP FW1 + FW2) mode on the cathode

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Fig. 6

Comparison of polarization behaviors with different flow fields on the cathode side and serpentine (SP FW1 + FW2) mode on the anode

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Fig. 7

Comparison of cell performance for anode and cathode mode variation at 0.65 V

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Fig. 8

Comparison of cell potential in constant current mode of operation with different flow fields on the anode and serpentine (SP FW1 + FW2) mode on the cathode

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Fig. 9

Comparison of cell potential in constant current mode of operation with different flow fields on the cathode and serpentine (SP FW1 + FW2) mode on the anode

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Fig. 10

Current density distribution with (a) SP FW1 + FW2, (b) SP FW1, (c) ID FW1, (d) SP FW1 + ID FW2, (e) SP FW1 + BW2, on the cathode side and serpentine (SP FW1 + FW2) mode on the anode at overall current density of 0.6 A cm−2, and (f) cell voltages under different mode of operations

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