The Effect of Inlet Parameters on Fluid Flow and Cell Performance at Cathode of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

Gulan U., Turkoglu H., AR İ.

JOURNAL OF FUEL CELL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, vol.7, no.4, 2010 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1115/1.3211097
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: catalysts, cathodes, computational fluid dynamics, current density, diffusion, electrochemical electrodes, proton exchange membrane fuel cells, QUANTUM JUMPS, PEMFC SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, CHALLENGES, TRANSPORT, MODELS, 1960S
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


In this study, the fluid flow and cell performance in cathode side of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell were numerically analyzed. The problem domain consists of cathode gas channel, cathode gas diffusion layer, and cathode catalyst layer. The equations governing the motion of air, concentration of oxygen, and electrochemical reactions were numerically solved. A computer program was developed based on control volume method and SIMPLE algorithm. The mathematical model and program developed were tested by comparing the results of numerical simulations with the results from literature. Simulations were performed for different values of inlet Reynolds number and inlet oxygen mole fraction at different operation temperatures. Using the results of these simulations, the effects of these parameters on the flow, oxygen concentration distribution, current density and power density were analyzed. The simulations showed that the oxygen concentration in the catalyst layer increases with increasing Reynolds number and hence the current density and power density of the PEM fuel cell also increases. Analysis of the data obtained from simulations also shows that current density and power density of the PEM fuel cell increases with increasing operation temperature. It is also observed that increasing the inlet oxygen mole fraction increases the current density and power density.