Water management in a single cell proton exchange membrane fuel cells with a serpentine flow field

Nik Suhaimi Mat Hassan, Wan Ramli Wan Daud, Kamaruzzaman Sopian, Jaafar Sahari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Gas and water management is the key to achieving good performance from a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) stack. Imbalance between production and evaporation rates can result in either flooding of the electrodes or membrane dehydration, both of which severely limit fuel cell performance. In the present study, a mathematical model was developed to evaluate moisture profiles of hydrogen and air flows in the flow field channels of both the anode and the cathode. For model validation, a single fuel cell was designed with an active area of 200 cm2. Six humidity sensors were installed in the flow fields of both the anode and the cathode at 457 mm, 1266 mm and 2532 mm from the inlets. The experiment was performed using an Arbin Fuel Cell Test Station. The temperature was varied (25 °C, 40 °C, 50 °C and 60 °C), while hydrogen and air velocities were fixed at 3 L min-1 and 6 L min-1, respectively, during the operation of the single cell. The feed relative humidity at the anode was fixed at 1.0, while the feed relative humidity at the cathode was fixed at 0.005 (dry air). All humidity sensor readings were taken at steady state after 2 h of operation. Model predictions were then compared with experimental results by using the least squares algorithm. The moisture content was found to decrease along the flow field at the anode, but to increase at the cathode. The moisture content profile at the anode was shown to depend on the moisture Peclet number, which decreased with temperature. On the other hand, the moisture profile at the cathode was shown to depend on both the Peclet number and the Damkohler number. The trend of the Peclet number in the cathode followed closely that of the anode. The Damkohler number decreased with temperature, indicating increasing moisture mass transfer with temperature. The moisture profile models were successfully validated by the published data of the estimated overall mass transfer coefficient and moisture effective diffusivity of the same order of magnitude. The strategy of saturating the hydrogen feed and using dry air, as in the present work, has been shown to successfully prevent water droplet formation in the cathode, and hence prevent flooding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-257
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Volume193
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009

Fingerprint

water management
Water management
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)
fuel cells
Flow fields
flow distribution
moisture
Moisture
cathodes
Cathodes
anodes
membranes
Anodes
protons
Peclet number
cells
humidity
Damkohler number
Fuel cells
Hydrogen

Keywords

  • Diffusivity
  • Mass transfer coefficient
  • Moisture profile
  • PEMFC
  • Water management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Water management in a single cell proton exchange membrane fuel cells with a serpentine flow field. / Hassan, Nik Suhaimi Mat; Wan Daud, Wan Ramli; Sopian, Kamaruzzaman; Sahari, Jaafar.

In: Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 193, No. 1, 01.08.2009, p. 249-257.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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