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Effect of cathode channel dimensions on the performance of an air-breathing PEM fuel cell
Ajit Kumar Kolar
Published in
2010
Volume: 49
   
Issue: 5
Pages: 844 - 857
Abstract
A three dimensional, steady state, non-isothermal, single phase model was developed and simulations were carried out in order to find the effect of cathode channel dimensions (width, depth and height) on the performance of an air-breathing fuel cell. The model was solved using commercial CFD package Fluent (version 6.3). Separate user defined functions were written to solve the electrochemical equations and the water transport through the membrane along with the other governing equations. Analyses were carried out for three different channel widths (2, 4 and 6 mm), for three different channel depths (2, 6 and 10 mm) and for three different cell heights (15, 30 and 45 mm). Cell characteristics like current distribution, species distribution, oxygen mass transfer coefficient, cell temperature, cathode channel velocities and net water transport coefficients are reported. The results show that the cell performance improves with increase in cathode channel width, channel depth and with decrease in cell height. Maximum power density obtained was 240 mW/cm2 for a channel width of 4 mm and channel depth of 6 mm. When the channel depth was 2 mm the performance was limited mainly due to the resistance offered by the channel for the buoyancy induced flow. For channel depths higher than 2 mm, the diffusion resistance of the porous GDL also contributed significantly to limit the performance to low current densities. At low current densities the fuel cell is prone to flooding whereas at high current densities ohmic overpotential due to dehydration of the membrane significantly contributes to the overall voltage loss. © 2009 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
About the journal
JournalInternational Journal of Thermal Sciences
ISSN12900729
Open AccessNo
Concepts (33)
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    AIR BREATHING
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    BUOYANCY INDUCED FLOW
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    CATHODE CHANNEL
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    CATHODE CHANNEL DIMENSIONS
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    CELL HEIGHT
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    Cell performance
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    CELL TEMPERATURE
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    CHANNEL DEPTH
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    CHANNEL WIDTHS
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    Current distribution
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    DIFFUSION RESISTANCE
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    EFFECT OF CATHODE
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    Governing equations
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    High current densities
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    IN-CELL
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    LOW CURRENT DENSITY
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    MAXIMUM POWER DENSITY
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    Nonisothermal
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    OVERPOTENTIAL
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    OXYGEN MASS TRANSFER
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    Pem fuel cell
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    SINGLE-PHASE MODEL
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    Species distributions
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    Steady state
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    User defined functions
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    VOLTAGE LOSS
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    Water transport
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    Computational fluid dynamics
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    MASS TRANSFER
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    Oxygen
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    Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (pemfc)
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    Three dimensional
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    Cells