Entropy Based Design of Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
G. F. Naterer

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street N, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, L1H 7K4

C. D. Tokarz

Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Manitoba, 15 Gillson Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3T 2N2

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 3(2), 165-174 (Aug 30, 2005) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2174065 History: Received July 26, 2005; Revised August 30, 2005

This article aims to develop an entropy based method of systematically improving efficiency of fuel cells. Entropy production of both electrochemical and thermofluid irreversibilities is formulated based on the Second Law. Ohmic, concentration, and activation irreversibilities occur within the electrodes, while thermal and friction irreversibilities occur within the fuel channel. These irreversibilities reduce the overall cell efficiency by generating voltage losses. Unlike past studies, this article considers fuel channel irreversibilities within the total entropy production, for both solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Predicted results of entropy production are shown at varying operating temperatures, surface resistances, and channel configurations. Numerical predictions are compared successfully against past measured data of voltage profiles, thereby providing useful validation of the entropy based formulation. The Second Law stipulates the maximum theoretical capability of energy conversion within the fuel cell. Unlike past methods characterizing voltage losses through overpotential or polarization curves, the entropy based method provides a useful alternative and systematic procedure for reducing voltage losses.

Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Schematic of a solid oxide fuel cell

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Figure 2

Operating components of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell

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Figure 3

Nondimensional concentration profile in the fuel channel

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Figure 4

Velocity and concentration profiles in the fuel channel

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Figure 5

Current density profile in the fuel channel

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Figure 6

Entropy production at varying slip coefficients

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Figure 7

Irreversibility distribution ratio

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Figure 8

PEMFC entropy production (electrodes)

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Figure 9

Entropy production per unit current flow (electrodes)

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Figure 10

PEMFC voltage profile

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Figure 11

Entropy production (SOFC; T=650K)

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Figure 12

Change of entropy production with varying current density

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Figure 13

Voltage profile (SOFC; T=750°C)



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