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Technical Paper

A Lattice Boltzmann Simulation of Gas Purge in Flow Channel with Real GDL Surface Characteristics for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

Gas purge is considered as an essential shutdown process for a PEMFC (Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell), especially in subfreezing temperature. The water flooding phenomenon inside fuel cell flow channel have a marked impact on performance in normal operating condition. In addition, the residual water freezes in the subzero temperature, thus blocking the mass transfer from flow channel to porous media. Therefore, the gas purge course is of primary importance for improvement of performance and durability. The water droplet residing in the flow channel can be purged out due to shearing force of gas. In fact, the flow channel is not completely flat due to surface roughness of gas diffusion layer (GDL), meaning the water droplet may climb over obstacles. Moreover, the water droplet may block the flow channel and then be sheared into films on the surface of GDL.
Technical Paper

A Progress Review on Gas Purge for Enhancing Cold Start Performance in PEM Fuel Cell

Cold start capability is one of remaining major challenges in realizing PEMFC (Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell) technology for automotive applications. Gas purge is a common and integral shutdown procedure of a PEMFC automotive in subzero temperature. A dryer membrane electrode assembly (MEA) can store more water before it gets saturated and ice starts to penetrate in the open pores of porous media, thus enhancing cold start capability of a PEMFC. Therefore, gas purge is always performed prior to fuel cell shutdown to minimize residual water in a PEMFC. In the hope of improving effectiveness of purge in a PEMFC vehicle, two important purge parameters are evaluated including purge time and energy requirement. In practice, an optimized gas purge protocol should be developed with minimal parasitic energy, short purge duration and no degradation of components. To conclude, the cold start capability and performance can be consolidated by proper design of gas purge strategies.
Journal Article

Numerical Models for PEMFC Cold Start: A Review

Startup from subzero temperature is one of the major challenges for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) to realize commercialization. Below the freezing point (0°C), water will freeze easily, which blocks the reactant gases into the reaction sites, thus leading to the start failure and material degradation. Therefore, for PEMFC in vehicle application, finding suitable ways to reach successful startup from subfreezing environment is a prerequisite. As it’s difficult and complex for experimental studies to measure the internal quantities, mathematical models are the effective ways to study the detailed transport process and physical phenomenon, which make it possible to achieve detailed prediction of the inner life of the cell. However, review papers only on cold start numerical models are not available. In this study, an extensive review on cold start models is summarized featuring the states and phase changes of water, heat and mass transfer.
Technical Paper

Thermal Management of Power Batteries for Electric Vehicles Using Phase Change Materials: A Review

As one of the most crucial components in electric vehicles, power batteries generate abundant heat during charging and discharging processes. Thermal management system (TMS), which is designed to keep the battery cells within an optimum temperature range and to maintain an even temperature distribution from cell to cell, is vital for the high efficiency, long calendar life and reliable safety of these power batteries. With the desirable features of low system complexity, light weight, high energy efficiency and good battery thermal uniformity, thermal management using composite phase change materials (PCMs) has drawn great attention in the past fifteen years. In the hope of supplying helpful guidelines for the design of the PCM-based TMSs, this work begins with the summarization of the most commonly applied heat transfer enhancement methods (i.e., the use of thermally conductive particles, metal fin, expanded graphite matrix and metal foam) for PCMs by different researchers.