Browse Publications Technical Papers 2013-01-0098
2013-03-25

Effect of Ambient Conditions on the Performance of an Open-Cathode PEM Fuel Cell Stack: Case Study United Arab Emirates 2013-01-0098

This paper presents a computational investigation of the effect of ambient conditions (temperature and relative humidity) on the performance of a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack with an open-cathode manifold. It uses the annual climate data of Abu Dhabi as a case study. The objective is to develop a better fundamental understanding of the fuel cell's performance in the hot arid environment. Such an understanding will be beneficial in improving the fuel cell design for mobile applications. The mathematical model used in this study comprises of three components: the fuel cell stack, the fan and the ambient. The model considers two-phase flow and conservation of mass, momentum, species and energy in the ambient and PEM fuel cell stack, as well as conservation of charge and a phenomenological membrane and agglomerate model for the PEM stack. The fan is resolved as an interfacial condition with a polynomial expression for static pressure increase over the fan as a function of the fan velocity. The results showed that the stack performance is influenced by the ambient temperature and humidity. This effect is different at different operating voltages. The external conditions also affect the water content in the membrane, which is high at low ambient temperature and high humidity.

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