A comparison on the dynamical performance of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) with traditional serpentine and an open pore cellular foam material flow channel

F.N. Khatib, Tabbi Wilberforce*, J. Thompson, A.G. Olabi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Minimising the pressure drop in flow channels, ensuring high efficiency and utilisation of open pore cellular foam (OPCF) material in place of a traditional serpentine channel are investigated in this work. The paper establishes novel mathematical model that takes into account the effect of pressure drop in the flow channel and compares the dynamics of a porous flow channel with those of the traditional serpentine flow channel. The performance of a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cell with porous foam flow channel is analysed under static and transient conditions. The fuel cell mass transport equations are used in the model that also takes into account the effect of varying the current on the stack temperature. The membrane water content and IV-curves are analysed and simulation results are presented based on the mathematical models of the proposed system using the MATLAB®/Simulink® environments. The effect of varying pore diameter, porosity, and the flow velocity on pressure drop are also investigated using sensitivity analysis. Due to the lower pressure drop provided by the uniform distribution of reactants in OPCF channel, an improvement of approximately 55% is observed in current density when compared with that of the serpentine channel under the same operating conditions. The investigation further concluded that a higher pore diameter can have a lower drop in pressure provided the flow velocity of the reactant does not exceed 6 m/s.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Early online date12 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • PEM fuel cell
  • porous channel
  • pressure drop
  • serpentine channel

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