Simulation of Temperature Distribution in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

Abstract: Proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) has become the major type of fuel cells research for its high-energy efficiency, pollution-free characteristics and low operation temperature. Temperature distribution of PEMFC which has an important effect on the water management, heat transfer and mass transfer and it is regarded as the most important direction. In this paper, computer simulation is used to analyze temperature distribution rules of PEMFC and the simulation tool is the PEM module of computer fluid dynamics software Fluent.First, heat resource of PEMFC is analyzed that one part of heat is produced directly or indirectly by electrochemistry reaction and another part of heat is independent of electrochemistry reaction, it is came from gas humidity or brought by cooling water. Mathematic models used in the simulation work are presented. Experimental measurement methods.of temperature distribution in PEMFC are . analyzed. The simulation results are compared to the experimental results and validated to be effective.The paper discusses effects of some operating conditions and fuel cell parameters on the temperature distribution in PEMFC. The results show that the higher the gas relative humidity, the bigger the temperature differences in the membrane;the location of the highest temperature on the membrane changed by the degree of reactant humidity which is closed with the inlet when reactant humidity is high and is closed with the outlet when is low;high gas pressure would presented high temperature in local area of fuel cells, the anode gas stoichoimetry number has bigger effect on the temperature distribution than the cathode gas stoichoimetry number;the thermal conductivity of gas diffusion layer has enormous effect on the temperature distribution of fuel cells, when the thermal conductivity is 0.3 W/(m-K), the temperature differences.is nearly 20K and when the thermal conductivity is 19 W/(mK), the temperature of the fuel cells could be treated as constant.The paper also discusses the effect of cooling water on temperature distributionof fuel cells. The results show that simply designed straight cooling channel has bad heat transfer effect;in the low current density, fuel cells without cooling water has better temperature distribution effect than fuel cells with cooling water while in the high current density the instance is opposite, it would get the best temperature distribution when the cooling water has the same direction with the cathode gas flow direction;the flow velocity and temperature of cooling water have little effect on removing heat…
Key words: proton exchange membranes; fuel cell; heat transfer; simulation; temperature distribution; Fluent

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