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Current Distribution and Cathode Flooding Prediction in a PEM Fuel Cell

Authors: A. Jamekhorshid, G. Karimi, I. Noshadi, A. Jahangiri


Non-uniform current distribution in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells results in local over-heating, accelerated ageing, and lower power output than expected. This issue is very critical when fuel cell experiences water flooding. In this work, the performance of a PEM fuel cell is investigated under cathode flooding conditions. Two-dimensional partially flooded GDL models based on the conservation laws and electrochemical relations are proposed to study local current density distributions along flow fields over a wide range of cell operating conditions. The model results show a direct association between cathode inlet humidity increases and that of average current density but the system becomes more sensitive to flooding. The anode inlet relative humidity shows a similar effect. Operating the cell at higher temperatures would lead to higher average current densities and the chance of system being flooded is reduced. In addition, higher cathode stoichiometries prevent system flooding but the average current density remains almost constant. The higher anode stoichiometry leads to higher average current density and higher sensitivity to cathode flooding.

Keywords: Flooding, current distribution, PEM fuel cell, Hydrogen energysystem

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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