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EFFECT OF OPERATING CONDITIONS ON PERFORMANCE OF A PROTON EXCHANGE MEMBRANE FUEL CELL (PEMFC)

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2012.CHT-12.420
pages 681-692

Youcef Kerkoub
Laboratory of Thermodynamics and Energy Systems, Faculty of Physics, University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene (USTHB), BP 32 El-Alia Bab Ezzouar, Algiers

Ziari Yasmina Kerboua
Laboratory of Thermodynamics and Energy Systems, Faculty of Physics, University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene (USTHB), BP 32 El-Alia Bab Ezzouar, Algiers

Ahmed Benzaoui
Université des Sciences et de la technologie Houari Boumedienne, Faculté de Physique, Dépt. Energétique. B.P. 32 El-Alia, 16111 Bab-Ezzouar, Alger, Algeria

Abstract

A three dimensional, non isothermal and steady state model is presented for all elements of single channel of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). In this model all the elements of the cell are taken into account, including the solid collectors, the two flow channels, membrane diffusers and catalyst layers. The catalyst layers are considered as volumes with finite thicknesses rather than interfaces in order to be able to predict all transport phenomena with a high accuracy. The purpose of this work is modelling and simulation of transport of reactants, electrochemical reactions, heat, charge species and investigate the effect of operating conditions such as pressure, temperature, and humidity of inlet gases over the performance of the PEM fuel cell and predict how these operating conditions influence the water management in the cell and the photonic conductivity of the membrane, and consequently the performance of the cell. This paper especially focuses on the effect of pressure gradients of reactant inlet gases on the efficiency of the cell. The model is implemented into computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for solving all coupled equations. The results derived using the proposed model compare with known experimental results for certain conditions, described in published research work.

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