Effect of anisotropic thermal conductivity of the GDL and current collector rib width on two-phase transport in a PEM fuel cell

Chaitanya J. Bapat, Stefan Thynell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

A two-dimensional two-phase model based on the classical two-fluid model is used to analyze electrochemical and thermal transport in a PEMFC. The model is extended to account for the dependence of interfacial area density on liquid volume fraction. At a given fixed voltage, the fuel cell generates maximum current density for low through-plane and high in-plane thermal conductivities at high humidity operating conditions. It is also predicted that for low humidity operating conditions, the fuel cell generates maximum current density if the GDL is tailored to have high through-plane thermal conductivity near the inlet and progressively decreasing through-plane thermal conductivity at distances away from the inlet. At fully humidified cathode inlet conditions, narrower current collector ribs generate higher current densities at all voltages by reducing the resistance to diffusion of reactants and products through the GDL. In order to maximize the current density at low humidities, ribs must be wider near the inlet and narrower away from the inlet. The proposed methodology for tailoring GDL through-plane thermal conductivities and rib widths reduces the risk of membrane dehydration near inlet and also reduces the possibility of excessive liquid accumulation in the region away form the inlet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-251
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume179
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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