2D and 3D Model for a Proton-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC)


PEMFC technology is well positioned to provide zero-emission automotive propulsion for the next generation of road vehicles. Substantial progress is however still required in reducing manufacturing cost and in improving PEMFC’s performance before commercialization of such vehicles becomes feasible. Two of the critical transport phenomena issues in PEMFC operation are: i) thermal and water management, and ii) mass transport limitations. Many fundamental aspects of the associated heat and mass transport processes are not well understood and their elucidation has been a major challenge, because the processes are multi-dimensional and involve multi-component flow, heat and mass transfer in porous media with electrochemical reactions.
A multi-dimensional, computational model of fluid flow has been developed at the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria (IESVic) in order to investigate water and heat distribution.
The Navier-Stokes equations are used in conjunction with the energy and species transport to model the fluid in the gas channels. In the Membrane-Electrode-Assembly (MEA), the following transport phenomena are taken into account:
    1) multi-component transport of gaseous species in the porous anode and cathode,
    2) convective and electro-osmotic flow of liquid water through electrodes and membrane,
    3) transport of electrons through the carbon electrodes,
    4) proton migration through the membrane,
    5) electrochemical reactions at the catalyst area, and
    6) heat transfer within the fuel cell.
The model is implemented using the AEA-CFX4 code and limiting cases previously investigated in the literature.























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Last updated: Monday, 27-Jun-2002