An experimental study of the effect of a turbulence grid on the stack performance of an air-cooled proton exchange membrane fuel cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Saher Al Shakhshir

Pontoppidanstr. 111 Aalborg, Northern Jutland 9220 Denmark sas@et.aau.dk

Xin Gao

Pontoppidanstr. 111 Aalborg, Northern Jutland 9220 Denmark xin.gao.dk@outlook.com

Torsten Berning

Pontoppidanstraede 101 Aalborg East, 9220 Denmark tbe@et.aau.dk

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received March 1, 2019; final manuscript received June 18, 2019; published online xx xx, xxxx. Assoc. Editor: Ying Sun.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4044154 History: Received March 01, 2019; Accepted June 23, 2019


In a previous numerical study on heat and mass transfer in air-cooled proton exchange membrane fuel cells it was found that the performance is limited by heat transfer to the cathode side air stream that serves as a coolant, and it was proposed to place a turbulence grid before the cathode inlet in order to induce a mixing effect to the air and thereby improve the heat transfer and ultimately increase the limiting current and maximum power density. In the current work we conducted experiments with different turbulence grids which varied in terms of their pore size, grid thickness, rib width, angle of the pores and the distance between the grid and the cathode inlet. For all grids tested in this study the limiting current density of a Ballard Mark 1020 ACS stack was increased by 20%. We found that the single most important parameter was the distance between the turbulence grid and the cathode inlet, and it should be within 5 mm. For the best grid tested, the fuel cell stack voltage and thus the efficiency were increased by up to 20%. The power density was increased by more than 30% and further improvements are believed to be possible.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
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