Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-1174

Effect of Geometry Variation in a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell 2020-01-1174

Water transport at high current densities is of main concern for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells. The water content of the membrane must be high enough to provide maximum electrical conductivity and thus optimal stack performance. Dry-out may also lead to membrane degradation. However, a too high level of humidity leads to cell flooding, blocking the air and fuel flows to the catalyst sites and thus the reactions, resulting in a drop-in efficiency. Fuel cells water transport physics requires further investigation due to its complexity [1,2] and numerical modelling can improve the fundamental understanding of the phenomena. In this work, a 3D comprehensive model for fuel cells is presented. The PEM fuel cell is modelled in Siemens Simcenter STAR-CCM+ [3]. Anode and cathode GDL are modelled as porous media, with electrochemical reactions calculated in an infinitely thin catalyst layer. The membrane is modelled as a solid block including proton and water transport with electro-osmotic drag as well as ohmic heating. A two-phase approach is used to model the gas mixture and liquid water transport in the GDL and channels. A study of different geometries and water management is presented.


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