Paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Mauritius, 11-13 July, 2011.
A proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell is one of the
widely researched fuel cell systems due to its low temperature
operation, high power density, fast start-up, system robustness
and low emission characteristics. A three-dimensional
numerical computation of the effect of design parameters
(geometry and flow orientation) and physical parameters (gas
diffusion layer porosity) on PEM fuel cell performance was
carried out. The continuity, momentum, energy and species
conservation equations describing the flow and species
transport of the gas mixture in the coupled gas channels and the
electrodes were numerically solved using a computational fluid
dynamics code. This paper investigated how channel
geometries (width and depth), flow orientation and gas
diffusion layer (GDL) porosity affect performance and species
distribution in a typical fuel cell system. The study also
incorporated pressure drop characteristics in the flow channel.
The numerical results computed agree well with experimental
data in the literature.