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Advancing Fuel Cells Technology via Analogous Heat Exchanger Design Principles

[+] Author Affiliations
Comas Haynes, Vaughn Melbourne, William Rooker

Georgia Tech Center for Innovative Fuel Cell and Battery Technologies, Atlanta, GA

Paper No. IMECE2002-33313, pp. 349-363; 15 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Advanced Energy Systems
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, November 17–22, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3626-6 | eISBN: 0-7918-1691-5, 0-7918-1692-3, 0-7918-1693-1
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


Fuel cells and heat exchangers have numerous similarities. Both technologies are used to produce an “energy-in-transit.” Heat exchangers foster thermal transport (heat) as a result of thermal potential differences between streams; fuel cells foster charge transport across electrodes (current leading to power) as a result of electrochemical/electric potential differences between the reactant streams and fuel cell electrodes. Additional analogs include series resistance formulations, active regions for transport phenomena and pertinent capacity rates. These similarities have motivated the extension of heat exchanger design philosophies to fuel cells development. Pilot simulations have been done wherein solid oxide fuel cell geometries and process settings are being optimized via electrochemical pinch points, electroactive area optimization (patterned after optimal UA allocation within heat exchangers), and electrode “fins” for diminished polarization. The prevailing theme has been to bridge methodologies from the mature field of heat exchanger design to improve fuel cell design practices.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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