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An Investigation Into the Impact of the Performance Efficiency of PEM Fuel Cells From Coupling Channel Dimensions With Flow Configurations

[+] Author Affiliations
Manish Jindal, Mark Archambault

Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL

Paper No. FUELCELL2006-97056, pp. 1035-1043; 9 pages
  • ASME 2006 4th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2006 Fourth International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, Parts A and B
  • Irvine, California, USA, June 19–21, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4247-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-3780-7
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells are receiving a great deal of attention due to their low-temperature characteristics and environmental friendliness. Significant research has been conducted towards understanding and perfecting these devices so as to realize their potential to produce power with maximum efficiency and minimum cost. While much work has been done to refine the electrochemical and mass transport models describing the physics of the cell in the vicinity of the catalyst and membrane layers, comparatively little attention has been paid to the fluid dynamics phenomena within the cell and how it impacts the efficiency and performance of the device. The purpose of this work is to combine a subset of previously reported results and determine whether they can be incorporated into a single PEM fuel cell to further increase the performance above and beyond the increase obtained by implementing them separately. Several three-dimensional models with varying channel shapes, relative flow directions, and operating conditions were developed. Various inlet flow distributions were imposed to evaluate the most efficient fuel cell configuration. Results show that there are only minor differences in the average current density of the fuel cell with changes in the channel cross-sectional shape. Moreover, there is little impact on performance with variations in the relative flow directions of the inlet gases. While only slight increases in fuel cell performance were observed with most mass flow rate distributions across the channels, alternating high and low mass flow rates in adjacent channels provided almost a 3% increase in average current density over a uniform profile.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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