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The effects of water and microstructure on the performance of polymer electrolyte fuel cells

By A. Shah, G.S. Kim, W. Gervais, A. Young, K. Promislow, J. Li and S. Yi

Abstract

n this paper, we present a comprehensive non-isothermal, one-dimensional model of the cathode side of a Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell. We explicitly include the catalyst layer, gas diffusion layer and the membrane. The catalyst layer and gas diffusion layer are characterized by several measurable microstructural parameters. We model all three phases of water, with a view to capturing the effect that each has on the performance of the cell. A comparison with experiment is presented, demonstrating excellent agreement, particularly with regard to the effects of water activity in the channels and how it impacts flooding and membrane hydration. We present several results pertaining to the effects of water on the current density (or cell voltage), demonstrating the role of micro-structure, liquid water removal from the channel, water activity, membrane and gas diffusion layer thickness and channel temperature. These results provide an indication of the changes that are required to achieve optimal performance through improved water management and MEA-component design. Moreover, with its level of detail, the model we develop forms an excellent basis for a multi-dimensional model of the entire membrane electrode assembly

Topics: Q1
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.soton.ac.uk:44774
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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