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Thermodynamic Optimization of PEM Fuel Cell Stack Gas Channel for Optimal Thermal Performance

[+] Author Affiliations
Surajudeen O. Obayopo, Tunde Bello-Ochende, Joshua P. Meyer

University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Paper No. IHTC14-22233, pp. 29-35; 7 pages
  • 2010 14th International Heat Transfer Conference
  • 2010 14th International Heat Transfer Conference, Volume 5
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 8–13, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4940-8 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3879-2
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


This study shows a procedure to optimize polymer exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell gas channels in the systems bipolar plates with the aim of globally optimizing the overall system net power performance. Two geometrical gas flow channel configuration are considered, parallel channel and serpentine. Geometric optimization is carried out to determine the configuration which offers minimum pressure drop within the system and the maximum heat and mass transfer for optimal system performance. The systems are subjected to the constraints of total fixed volume and materials. The systems total and net power, efficiency and polarization curves are presented as a function of system temperature, pressure, geometry and operating parameters. Predicted results are compared successfully against past data involving channel flow profiles in gas channels. The configurations obtained from the geometric optimization reduce the overall pumping power requirement and subsequently cost for the supply of required fuel and oxidants to the fuel cell through the channels.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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