Numerical Investigation of the Effect of Gas Diffusion Layer with Semicircular Prominences on Polymer Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Performance and Species Distribution

Document Type: Research Article

Authors

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Urmia University of Technology, Urmia, Iran

Abstract

A three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics model of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) with both gas distribution flow channels and Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) is developed. A set of conservation equation is numerically solved by developing a CFD code based on the finite volume technique and SIMPLE algorithm. In this research, some parameters like oxygen consumption, water production, velocity distribution, liquid water activity and the fuel cell performance for conventional cases (base Cases) are presented and compared to those in cases with semicircular prominences. The numerical simulations indicated that prominent gas diffusion layer (GDL) could improve the transport of the species through the porous layers and this leads to increment in fuel cell performance. Hence, prominent gas diffusion layers would result in higher current density. Finally the numerical results for the base Cases were compared with the experimental data, which represented reasonable agreement.

Keywords


1.     Shimpalee, S., Greenway, S. and Van Zee, J.W., "The impact of channel path length on PEMFC flow-field design", Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 160, No. 1, (2006), 398–406.

2.     Yim, S.-D., Sohn, Y.-J., Yoon, Y.-G., Um, S., Kim, C.-S. and Lee, W.-Y., "Operating characteristics of 40 W-class PEMFC stacks using reformed gas under low humidifying conditions",  Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 178, (2008), 711–715.

3.     Perng, S.W. and Wu, H.W., "A three-dimensional numerical investigation of trapezoid baffles effect on non-isothermal reactant transport and cell net power in a PEMFC" Applied Energy, Vol. 143, (2015), 81-95.

4.     Grujicic M. and Chittajallu, K.M., "Design and optimization of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells", Applied Surface Science, Vol. 227, (2004), 56–72.

5.     Xing, X.Q., Lum, K.W., Poh, H.J. and Wu., Y.L., "Optimization of assembly clamping pressure on performance of proton-exchange membrane fuel cells", Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 195, No. 1, (2010), 62-68.

6.     Chang, W.R., Hwang, J.J., Weng, F.B. and Chan, S.H., "Effect of clamping pressure on the performance of a PEM fuel cell", Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 166, No. 1, (2007), 149-154.

7.     Lange, K.J., Sui, P.C. and Djilali, N., "Determination of effective transport properties in a PEMFC catalyst layer using different reconstruction algorithms", Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 208, (2012), 354–365.

8.     Amphlett, J.C.,  Baumert, R.M., Mann, R.F., Peppley, B.A., Roberge, P.R. and Harris, T.J., "Performance modeling of the Ballard Mark IV solid polymer electrolyte fuel cell II. Mechanistic model development", Journal of the Electrochemical Society,  Vol. 142, (1995), 9-15.

9.     He, G., Yamazaki, Y. and Abudula, A., "A three-dimensional analysis of the effect of anisotropic gas diffusion layer(GDL) thermal conductivity on the heat transfer and two-phase behavior in a proton exchange membrane fuel cell(PEMFC)", Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 195, No. 6, (2010), 1551–1560.

10.   Kumar, N.B., Khan, A. and Chutia, J., "Composite plasma polymerized sulfonated polystyrene membrane for PEMFC." Materials Research Bulletin, Vol. 70, (2015), 887-895.

11.   Jinlong, L., Liang, T. and Guo, W., "Effect of strain on corrosion resistance of 316L stainless steel as bipolar plates in PEMFC environment." International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 40, No. 33, (2015), 10382–10389.

12.   Uribe, F.A., Gottesfeld, S. and Zawodzinski, T.A., "Effect of ammonia as potential fuel impurity on proton exchange membrane fuel cell performance" Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Vol. 149, No. 3, (2002), A293-A296.

13.   Ticianelli, E.A., Derouin, C.R. and Srinivasan, S., "Localization of platinum in low catalyst loading electrodes to attain high power densities in SPE fuel cells", Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry and Interfacial Electrochemistry, Vol. 251, No. 2, (1988), 275–295.

14.   Yao, K.Z., Karan, K., McAuley, K.B., Oosthuizen, P., Peppley, B. and Xie, T., "A review of mathematical models for hydrogen and direct methanol polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells", Fuel Cells, Vol. 4, (2004), 3–29.

15.   Natarajan, D. and Nguyen, T.V., "A two-dimensional, two-phase, multi component, transient model for the cathode of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell using conventional gas distributors", Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Vol. 148, No. 12, (2001), A1324–A1335.

16.   Ahmadi, N., Rezazadeh, S., Yekani, M.K., Fakouri, A.R. and Mirzaee, I., "Numerical investigation of the effect of inlet gases humidity on polymer exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) performance", Transactions of the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering, Vol. 37, No. 1, (2013), 1-20.

17.   Lum, K.W., McGuirk, J.J., "Three-dimensional model of a complete polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell – model formulation, validation and parametric studies", Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 143, (2005), 103–124.

18.   Ahmed, D.H. and Sung, H.J., "Effects of channel geometrical configuration and shoulder width on PEMFC performance at high current density", Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 162, (2006), 327–339.

19.   Ahmadi, N., Rezazadeh, S. and Mirzaee, I., "Study the Effect of Various Operating Parameters of Proton Exchange Membrane", Periodica Polytechnica Chemical Engineering, Vol. 59, No. 3, (2015), 221-235.

20.   Ahmadi, N., Pourmahmoud, N., Mirzaee, I. and Rezazadeh, S., "Three-Dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamic Study on performance of polymer exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) in different cell potantial", Iranian Journal of Science and Technology, Vol. 36, No. 2, (2012), 129-141.

21.   Ahmadi, N., Pourmahmoud, N., Mirzaee, I. and Rezazadeh, S., "Three-Dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamic Study of Effect of Different Channel and Shoulder Geometries on Cell Performance", Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, VFol 5, No. 12, (2011), 541-556.

22.   Ahmadi, N., Rezazadeh, S., Mirzaee, I. and Pourmahmoud, N., "Three-dimensional computational fluid dynamic analysis of the conventional PEM fuel cell and investigation of prominent gas diffusion layers effect", Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology, Vol. 26, No. 8, (2012), 1-11.

23.   Ahmed, D.H. and Sung, H.J., "Design of a deflected membrane electrode assembly for PEMFCs", International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 51, (2008), 5443–5453.

24.   Kuklikovsky, A.A., "Quasi-3D Modeling of Water Transport in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells", Journal of The Electrochemical Society, Vol. 150, No. 11, (2003), A1432-A1439.

25.   Meredith, R.E. and Tobias, R.E., in "Advances in Electrochemistry and Electrochemical Engineering 2", (Tobias,C.W., ed., Interscience Publishers, New York, 1960).

26.   Yeo S.W. and Eisenberg, A., "Physical properties and supermolecular structure of perfluorinated ion-containing (nafion) polymers", Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Vol. 21, (1977), 875-898.

27.   Springer, T.E., Zawodinski, T.a. and Gottesfeld, S., "Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell Model", Journal of the Electrochemical  Society, Vol. 136, (1991), 2334-2342.

28.   Wang, L., Husar, A., Zhou, T. and Liu, H.,  "A parameteric study of  PEM fuel cell performances", International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 28, No. 11, (2003), 1263-1272.