Effects of Cooling Passages and Nanofluid Coolant on Thermal Performance of PEM Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Mostafa Kordi

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Iran

Ali Jabari Moghadam

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Iran

Ebrahim Afshari

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4042254 History: Received July 20, 2018; Revised November 24, 2018


In this research, cooling of polymer membrane fuel cells by nanofluids is numerically studied. Single phase homogeneous technique is used to evaluate thermophysical properties of the water/Al2O3 nanofluid as a function of temperature and nanoparticle concentration. Four cooling plates together with four various fluids (with different nanoparticle concentrations) are considered for cooling fuel cells. The impact of geometry, Reynolds number, and concentration is investigated on some imperative parameters such as surface temperature uniformity and pressure drop. The results reveal that, among different cooling plates, the multi-pass serpentine flow field has the best performance. It is also proved that the use of nanofluid, in general, enhances the cooling process and significantly improve those parameters directly affect the fuel cell performance and efficiency. By increasing the nanoparticle concentration by 0.006, the temperature uniformity index will decrease about 13 percent, the minimum and maximum temperature difference at the cooling plate surface will decrease about 13 percent and the pressure drop will increase about 35 percent. Nanofluids can improve thermal characteristics of cooling systems and consequently enhance the efficiency and durability of fuel cells.

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