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research-article

Self-humidification of a proton electrolyte membrane fuel cell system with cathodic exhaust gas recirculation

[+] Author and Article Information
Liangfei Xu

State Key Laboratory of Automotive Safety and Energy, Department of Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China; Institute of Energy and Climate Research, IEK-3: Electrochemical Process Engineering, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52425 Jülich, Germany; Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing, Beijing 100081, China
xuliangfei@tsinghua.edu.cn

Chuan Fang

State Key Laboratory of Automotive Safety and Energy, Department of Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China; Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing, Beijing 100081, China
fangchuan1990@126.com

Junming Hu

State Key Laboratory of Automotive Safety and Energy, Department of Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China; Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing, Beijing 100081, China
pcg_hujunming@qq.com

Siliang Cheng

State Key Laboratory of Automotive Safety and Energy, Department of Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China; Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing, Beijing 100081, China
chengsl12@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn

Jianqiu Li

State Key Laboratory of Automotive Safety and Energy, Department of Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China; Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing, Beijing 100081, China
lijianqiu@tsinghua.edu.cn

Minggao Ouyang

State Key Laboratory of Automotive Safety and Energy, Department of Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China
ouymg@tsinghua.edu.cn

Werner Lehnert

Institute of Energy and Climate Research, IEK-3: Electrochemical Process Engineering, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52425 Jülich, Germany; RWTH Aachen University, Modeling Electrochemical Process Engineering, 52062 Aachen, Germany
w.lehnert@fz-juelich.de

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4038628 History: Received August 17, 2016; Revised August 22, 2017

Abstract

Water management is critical for the operation of a proton electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). For the purposes of high power and long working-lifetime of PEMFCs, external humidifiers are always utilized as a necessary part of balance of plants to keep the imported air and fuel wet. However, they have several disadvantages, and it is beneficial to remove them so as to reduce system volume and to enhance the cold-starting capability. In this paper, a self-humidified PEMFC of an active area 250 cm2 and cell number 320 is proposed and investigated. The imported dry air on the cathode side is mixed with moisty exhaust gas by using a recirculation valve, and the dry hydrogen on the anode side is humidified by back-diffusion water through the membrane. A nonlinear model is set up based on mass transport and energy conservation equations to capture dynamics of gas gases in the supply and exhaust manifolds, the gas diffusion layers (GDLs) and the membrane. An analysis is conducted to investigate the influences of parameters on dynamic and stable performances. Simulation results show that, system performances can be greatly affected by parameters such as air stoichiometry, current density, exhaust gas recirculation ratio and membrane thickness. By accurately controlling the EGR ratio and carefully selecting design and operation parameters, it is possible for a PEMFC without an external humidifier to have similar system efficiency to a traditional system.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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