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Experimental Performance Evaluation of a High Temperature PEM Fuel Cell at Different Temperatures and Pressures

[+] Author Affiliations
Etim U. Ubong, Susanta K. Das, K. J. Berry, Antonio Reis

Kettering University, Flint, MI

Paper No. FuelCell2008-65177, pp. 303-308; 6 pages
doi:10.1115/FuelCell2008-65177
From:
  • ASME 2008 6th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2008 6th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, June 16–18, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Nanotechnology Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4318-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3822-6
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME

abstract

The high temperature proton exchange membranes (HT-PEM) attract growing interests due to its enhanced electrochemical kinetics, simplified pinch technology and utilization of higher CO-rich reformed hydrogen as the fuel. From the technological point of view, using pure hydrogen as fuel seems highly restrictive because hydrogen with high purity may not always be readily available. As an attractive alternative to compressed hydrogen, it is preferred to use hydrogen-rich gases as fuel. On-site generation of hydrogen using reformed fuels can be directly fed to the high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells (HT-PEMFCs) without first preheating the cell with external heat source to raise the temperature to its operating temperature. Since the HT-PEMFCs performance depends strongly on temperature, the cell temperature plays an important role in its operation. The purpose of this research is to experimentally study a high temperature PEM fuel cell at steady operating conditions. In this work, the performance of the fuel cell has been experimentally examined to unravel the steady-state effects of changes in temperature and pressure at a fixed hydrogen stoichiometry and variable air stiochiometries In particular, the effects that changes in temperature and pressure have on the voltage-current characteristics. Experimental data of this type is needed to develop and validate the fuel cell models, and to help understand and optimize the operation of these devices. In this study, a cell with an active cell area of 45 cm2 based on polybenzimidazole (PBI), doped with phosphoric acid is examined over the entire temperature range of 120°C–180°C with hydrogen of 99.999% purity. The quantitative results obtained from the experiments showed variations in current-voltage characteristics at different pressure and temperatures. The results will be used as a baseline value to under-study the performance of a high temperature PEM fuel cell in terms of current-voltage characteristics, when fueled with a reformate with higher CO concentrations in our future study.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME

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