Polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) mounted with two strips of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) sponge is presented and the effect of operating conditions on the cell performance is investigated. Mounting the sponge wicks is advantageous for the humidification of dry inlet air and for the removal of liquid water in the cell. It was found that dry inlet hydrogen could be internally humidified by water diffusion from the cathode to anode when operating in a counterflow mode. The results show that the relative humidity of the inlet gases could have little effect on the performance of the cell mounted with two sponge wicks under certain operating conditions. At a cell potential of 0.5 V, the current densities of the sponge-mounted PEFC operated with dry air are 5% and 31% higher than those of the conventional one without wicks operated with saturated and dry air, respectively. The molar percentage of water vapor to total water exiting the cathode (Rgas) is an important parameter to gauge the cell performance with dry gases. A very large Rgas may cause the membrane dehydration and subsequently a low cell performance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)