Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-0860

Large-Scale Simulation of PEM Fuel Cell Using a “3D+1D” Model 2020-01-0860

Nowadays, proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell is widely seen as a promising energy conversion device especially for transportation application scenario because of its high efficiency, low operation temperature and nearly-zero road emission. Extensive modeling work have been done based on different dimensions during the past decades, including one-dimensional (1D), two-dimensional (2D), three-dimensional (3D) and intermediate combinations in between (e.g. “1+1D”). 1D model benefits from a rationally-chosen set of assumptions to obtain excellent calculation efficiency, yet at the cost of accuracy to some extent. In contrast, 3D model has great advantage over 1D model on acquiring more comprehensive information inside the fuel cell. For macro-scale modeling work, one compromise aiming to realize both acceptable computation speed and reasonable reflection of cell operation state is to simplify the membrane electrode assembly (MEA). Therefore in this study, a “3D+1D” model is developed in which the 3D domain contains flow field and gas diffusion layer (GDL) of cathode side. The remaining part of MEA and the anode side are treated as 1D domain. The model considers two-phase flow in both 3D domain and 1D domain. In addition, cathode catalyst layer (CL) agglomerate model is also incorporated. Adopting the “3D+1D” model, large-scale simulation regarding computational domain with practical active area (345 cm2) is conducted. Results suggests that the combination of serpentine flow field and metal foam can improve gas supply and water removal. And the “3D+1D” method is found to greatly reduce the time cost of simulation process compared with the complete 3D model.


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