Numerical Investigation of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Performance Enhancement by Geometrical Configuration Changing

Document Type: Research Article

Authors

1 Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran.

2 Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Urmia University of Technology, Urmia, Iran.

Abstract

Among the renewable energy systems, fuel cells are of special significance about which more investigation is required. The principal goal of the present study is considering the effect of the geometry change on the fuel cell's performance. In this paper, a three-dimensional model of proton exchange membrane fuel cell has been numerically simulated with conventional cubic geometry. Afterwards, two brand-new cylindrical models have been proposed to compare and select the best model. The governing equations include mass, momentum, energy, species and electrical potential, which are discretized and solved using the method of computational fluid dynamics. The results obtained from numerical analyses were validated with those from experimental data, which showed acceptable agreement. For the above-mentioned models, changes in the species mass fraction, temperature, electric current density, and over-potential were analyzed in more detail. The results reveal that, in all three models, by decreasing the amount of cell voltage differences between the anode and the cathode, higher current density is produced, which leads to high input species consumption and, consequently, more water and heat generation. On the other hand, the four-channel cylindrical model is more efficient than the other two models and has shower pressure drop due to its shorter pathway. The results illustrated that, at V=0.6 )V(, the amount of the output current density in the four-channel model increased by approximately 18.4 %, compared to that in the other two models. Further, in this model, the material used in bipolar plates is less than that in the other models.

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Main Subjects


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