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Journal of Enhanced Heat Transfer

Impact factor: 0.400

ISSN Print: 1065-5131
ISSN Online: 1563-5074

Journal of Enhanced Heat Transfer

DOI: 10.1615/JEnhHeatTransf.v10.i3.20
pages 257-274

Fuel Cell Performance Augmentation: Mass Transfer Enhancement

Hongtan Liu
University of Miami, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Coral Gables, FL 33124
Tianhong Zhou
University of Miami, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Coral Gables, FL 33124

ABSTRACT

A comprehensive three-dimentional fuel cell model is used to study proton exchange memberane (PEM) fuel cell performance augmentation resulting from mass transfer enhancement with an interdigitated flow field design. The mass transfer enhancement of the interdigitated flow field is first studied by comparing the oxygen mole fraction distributions at different overpotentials with those of conventional flow field. Comparisons of fuel cell performances with the two types of flow fields are made by comparing the polarization curves as well as the current density distributions under the same operating conditions. Further modeling study is carried out to investigate the effects of gas channel width, gas diffusion layer (GDL) thickness, and GDL porosity of the interdigitated flow field. The modeling results show that the PEM fuel cell with interdigitated flow field outperforms that with conventional flow field, and this is due to the mass transfer enhancement of forced convection through the GDL. This study concentrates on the performance of the fuel cell only, thus the additional pressure-drop penalty of the interdigitated flow field is not considered.