Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 8

PEM fuel cell Related Abstracts

8 ORR Activity and Stability of Pt-Based Electrocatalysts in PEM Fuel Cell

Authors: S. Limpattayanate, M. Hunsom


A comparison of activity and stability of the as-formed Pt/C, Pt-Co, and Pt-Pd/C electrocatalysts, prepared by a combined approach of impregnation and seeding, was performed. According to the activity test in a single proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell, the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of the Pt-M/C electro catalyst was slightly lower than that of Pt/C. The j0.9 V and E10 mA/cm2 of the as-prepared electrocatalysts increased in the order of Pt/C>Pt-Co/C>Pt-Pd/C. However, in the medium-to-high current density region, Pt-Pd/C exhibited the best performance. With regard to their stability in a 0.5 M H2SO4 electrolyte solution, the electro chemical surface area decreased as the number of rounds of repetitive potential cycling increased due to the dissolution of the metals within the catalyst structure. For long-term measurement, Pt-Pd/C was the most stable than the other three electrocatalysts.

Keywords: Stability, ORR activity, Pt-based electrocatalysts, PEM fuel cell

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7 Experimental Study on Performance of a Planar Membrane Humidifier for a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Stack

Authors: Wei-Mon Yan, Chen-Yu Chen, Chi-Nan Lai, Jian-Hao Su


The proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) becomes more important as an alternative energy source recently. Maintaining proper water content in the membrane is one of the key requirements for optimizing the PEMFC performance. The planar membrane humidifier has the advantages of simple structure, low cost, low-pressure drop, light weight, reliable performance and good gas separability. Thus, it is a common external humidifier for PEMFCs. In this work, a planar membrane humidifier for kW-scale PEMFCs is developed successfully. The heat and mass transfer of humidifier is discussed, and its performance is analyzed in term of dew point approach temperature (DPAT), water vapor transfer rate (WVTR) and water recovery ratio (WRR). The DPAT of the humidifier with the counter flow approach reaches about 6°C under inlet dry air of 50°C and 60% RH and inlet humid air of 70°C and 100% RH. The rate of pressure loss of the humidifier is 5.0×10² Pa/min at the torque of 7 N-m, which reaches the standard of commercial planar membrane humidifiers. From the tests, it is found that increasing the air flow rate increases the WVTR. However, the DPAT and the WRR are not improved by increasing the WVTR as the air flow rate is higher than the optimal value. In addition, increasing the inlet temperature or the humidity of dry air decreases the WVTR and the WRR. Nevertheless, the DPAT is improved at elevated inlet temperatures or humidities of dry air. Furthermore, the performance of the humidifier with the counter flow approach is better than that with the parallel flow approach. The DPAT difference between the two flow approaches reaches up to 8 °C.

Keywords: Heat and Mass Transfer, PEM fuel cell, humidifier performance, planar membrane humidifier

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6 Performance Analysis of a Planar Membrane Humidifier for PEM Fuel Cell

Authors: Wei-Mon Yan, Chen-Yu Chen, Jian-Hao Su, Yu-Hsuan Chang


In this work, the experimental measurement was applied to examine the membrane type and flow field design on the performance of a planar membrane humidifier. The performance indexes were used to evaluate the planar membrane humidifier. The performance indexes of the membrane humidifier include the dew point approach temperature (DPAT), water recovery ratio (WRR), water flux (J) and pressure loss (P). The experiments contain mainly three parts. In the first part, a single membrane humidifier was tested using different flow field under different dry-inlet temperatures. The measured results show that the dew point approach temperature decreases with increasing the depth of flow channel at the same width of flow channel. However, the WRR and J reduce with an increase in the dry air-inlet temperature. The pressure loss tests indicate that pressure loss decreases with increasing the hydraulic diameter of flow channel, resulting from an increase in Darcy friction. Owing to the comparison of humidifier performances and pressure losses, the flow channel of width W=1 and height H=1.5 was selected as the channel design of the multi-membrane humidifier in the second part of experiment. In the second part, the multi-membrane humidifier was used to evaluate the humidification performance under different relative humidity and flow rates. The measurement results indicate that the humidifier at both lower temperature and relative humidity of inlet dry air have higher DPAT but lower J and WRR. In addition, the counter flow approach has better mass and heat transfer performance than the parallel flow approach. Moreover, the effects of dry air temperature, relative humidity and humidification approach are not significant to the pressure loss in the planar membrane humidifier. For the third part, different membranes were tested in this work in order to find out which kind membrane is appropriate for humidifier.

Keywords: Water management, Heat and Mass Transfer, pressure loss, PEM fuel cell, planar membrane humidifier

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5 Laser Welding Technique Effect for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Application

Authors: Chih-Chia Lin, Ching-Ying Huang, Cheng-Hong Liu, Wen-Lin Wang


A complete fuel cell stack comprises several single cells with end plates, bipolar plates, gaskets and membrane electrode assembly (MEA) components. Electrons generated from cells are conducted through bipolar plates. The amount of cells' components increases as the stack voltage increases, complicating the fuel cell assembly process and mass production. Stack assembly error influence cell performance. PEM fuel cell stack importing laser welding technique could eliminate transverse deformation between bipolar plates to promote stress uniformity of cell components as bipolar plates and MEA. Simultaneously, bipolar plates were melted together using laser welding to decrease interface resistance. A series of experiments as through-plan and in-plan resistance measurement test was conducted to observe the laser welding effect. The result showed that the through-plane resistance with laser welding was a drop of 97.5-97.6% when the contact pressure was about 1MPa to 3 MPa, and the in-plane resistance was not significantly different for laser welding.

Keywords: Resistance, Laser Welding, PEM fuel cell, through-plan, in-plan

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4 Experimental Study on Heat and Mass Transfer of Humidifier for Fuel Cell

Authors: Yang-Cheng Lu, You-Kai Jhang


Major contributions of this study are threefold: designing a new model of planar-membrane humidifier for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC), an index to measure the Effectiveness (εT) of that humidifier, and an air compressor system to replicate related planar-membrane humidifier experiments. PEMFC as a kind of renewable energy has become more and more important in recent years due to its reliability and durability. To maintain the efficiency of the fuel cell, the membrane of PEMFC need to be controlled in a good hydration condition. How to maintain proper membrane humidity is one of the key issues to optimize PEMFC. We developed new humidifier to recycle water vapor from cathode air outlet so as to keep the moisture content of cathode air inlet in a PEMFC. By measuring parameters such as dry side air outlet dew point temperature, dry side air inlet temperature and humidity, wet side air inlet temperature and humidity, and differential pressure between dry side and wet side, we calculated indices obtained by dew point approach temperature (DPAT), water flux (J), water recovery ratio (WRR), effectiveness (εT), and differential pressure (ΔP). We discussed six topics including sealing effect, flow rate effect, flow direction effect, channel effect, temperature effect, and humidity effect by using these indices. Gas cylinders are used as sources of air supply in many studies of humidifiers. Gas cylinder depletes quickly during experiment at 1kW air flow rate, and it causes replication difficult. In order to ensure high stable air quality and better replication of experimental data, this study designs an air supply system to overcome this difficulty. The experimental result shows that the best rate of pressure loss of humidifier is 0.133×10³ Pa(g)/min at the torque of 25 (N.m). The best humidifier performance ranges from 30-40 (LPM) of air flow rates. The counter flow configured humidifies moisturizes the dry side inlet air more effectively than the parallel flow humidifier. From the performance measurements of the channel plates various rib widths studied in this study, it is found that the narrower the rib width is, the more the performance of humidifier improves. Raising channel width in same hydraulic diameter (Dh ) will obtain higher εT and lower ΔP. Moreover, increasing the dry side air inlet temperature or humidity will lead to lower εT. In addition, when the dry side air inlet temperature exceeds 50°C, the effect becomes even more obvious.

Keywords: Water management, Heat and Mass Transfer, PEM fuel cell, humidifier performance, membrane humidifier

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3 Passive Heat Exchanger for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Cooling

Authors: Ivan Tolj


Water produced during electrochemical reaction in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell can be used for internal humidification of reactant gases; hydrogen and air. On such a way it is possible to eliminate expensive external humidifiers and simplify fuel cell balance-of-plant (BoP). When fuel cell operates at constant temperature (usually between 60 °C and 80 °C) relatively cold and dry ambient air heats up quickly upon entering channels which cause further drop in relative humidity (below 20%). Low relative humidity of reactant gases dries up polymer membrane and decrease its proton conductivity which results in fuel cell performance drop. It is possible to maintain such temperature profile throughout fuel cell cathode channel which will result in close to 100 % RH. In order to achieve this, passive heat exchanger was designed using commercial CFD software (ANSYS Fluent). Such passive heat exchanger (with variable surface area) is suitable for small scale PEM fuel cells. In this study, passive heat exchanger for single PEM fuel cell segment (with 20 x 1 cm active area) was developed. Results show close to 100 % RH of air throughout cathode channel with increased fuel cell performance (mainly improved polarization curve) and improved durability.

Keywords: Thermal Management, relative humidity, PEM fuel cell, passive heat exchange

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2 Numerical Study on Response of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell (PEFCs) with Defects under Different Load Conditions

Authors: Jaeseung Lee, Muhammad Faizan Chinannai, Mohamed Hassan Gundu, Hyunchul Ju


Fuel cell is known to be an effective renewable energy resource which is commercializing in the present era. It is really important to know about the improvement in performance even when the system faces some defects. This study was carried out to analyze the performance of the Polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFCs) under different operating conditions such as current density, relative humidity and Pt loadings considering defects with load changes. The purpose of this study is to analyze the response of the fuel cell system with defects in Balance of Plants (BOPs) and catalyst layer (CL) degradation by maintaining the coolant flow rate as such to preserve the cell temperature at the required level. Multi-Scale Simulation of 3D two-phase PEFC model with coolant was carried out under different load conditions. For detailed analysis and performance comparison, extensive contours of temperature, current density, water content, and relative humidity are provided. The simulation results of the different cases are compared with the reference data. Hence the response of the fuel cell stack with defects in BOP and CL degradations can be analyzed by the temperature difference between the coolant outlet and membrane electrode assembly. The results showed that the Failure of the humidifier increases High-Frequency Resistance (HFR), air flow defects and CL degradation results in the non-uniformity of current density distribution and high cathode activation overpotential, respectively.

Keywords: Performance Analysis, degradation, PEM fuel cell, fuel cell modeling, BOP components, current density distribution

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1 Vibration and Freeze-Thaw Cycling Tests on Fuel Cells for Automotive Applications

Authors: Gema M. Rodado, Jose M. Olavarrieta


Hydrogen fuel cell technologies have experienced a great boost in the last decades, significantly increasing the production of these devices for both stationary and portable (mainly automotive) applications; these are influenced by two main factors: environmental pollution and energy shortage. A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts chemical energy directly into electricity by using hydrogen and oxygen gases as reactive components and obtaining water and heat as byproducts of the chemical reaction. Fuel cells, specifically those of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology, are considered an alternative to internal combustion engines, mainly because of the low emissions they produce (almost zero), high efficiency and low operating temperatures (< 373 K). The introduction and use of fuel cells in the automotive market requires the development of standardized and validated procedures to test and evaluate their performance in different environmental conditions including vibrations and freeze-thaw cycles. These situations of vibration and extremely low/high temperatures can affect the physical integrity or even the excellent operation or performance of the fuel cell stack placed in a vehicle in circulation or in different climatic conditions. The main objective of this work is the development and validation of vibration and freeze-thaw cycling test procedures for fuel cell stacks that can be used in a vehicle in order to consolidate their safety, performance, and durability. In this context, different experimental tests were carried out at the facilities of the National Hydrogen Centre (CNH2). The experimental equipment used was: A vibration platform (shaker) for vibration test analysis on fuel cells in three axes directions with different vibration profiles. A walk-in climatic chamber to test the starting, operating, and stopping behavior of fuel cells under defined extreme conditions. A test station designed and developed by the CNH2 to test and characterize PEM fuel cell stacks up to 10 kWe. A 5 kWe PEM fuel cell stack in off-operation mode was used to carry out two independent experimental procedures. On the one hand, the fuel cell was subjected to a sinusoidal vibration test on the shaker in the three axes directions. It was defined by acceleration and amplitudes in the frequency range of 7 to 200 Hz for a total of three hours in each direction. On the other hand, the climatic chamber was used to simulate freeze-thaw cycles by defining a temperature range between +313 K and -243 K with an average relative humidity of 50% and a recommended ramp up and rump down of 1 K/min. The polarization curve and gas leakage rate were determined before and after the vibration and freeze-thaw tests at the fuel cell stack test station to evaluate the robustness of the stack. The results were very similar, which indicates that the tests did not affect the fuel cell stack structure and performance. The proposed procedures were verified and can be used as an initial point to perform other tests with different fuel cells.

Keywords: PEM fuel cell, freeze-thaw cycles, vibration tests, climatic chamber, shaker

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