121 - Journal of The Electrochemical Society 150 11...

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Rigorous 3-D Mathematical Modeling of PEM Fuel Cells I. Model Predictions without Liquid Water Transport Sandip Mazumder * ,z and James Vernon Cole * CFD Research Corporation, Huntsville, Alabama 35805, USA This article presents a rigorous mathematical model to predict performance of proton exchange membrane ~ PEM ! fuel cells ~ FCs ! of arbitrary three-dimensional ~ 3-D ! geometry. Mathematical modeling of FCs is necessary in order to understand the precise effect of operating conditions and material properties on the performance of fuel cells. The model is based on solution of the conservation equations of mass, momentum, energy, species, and electric current in a fully integrated finite-volume solver. Simulations are performed in 2-D and 3-D geometries assuming that water stays in its vapor phase and that no liquid water is formed. Results are compared against experimental data under various operating conditions, and show that 3-D modeling is key to predicting performance of PEM FCs at high current densities. © 2003 The Electrochemical Society. @ DOI: 10.1149/1.1615608 # All rights reserved. Manuscript submitted July 17, 2002; revised manuscript received May 1, 2003. Available electronically September 22, 2003. Recent interest in clean and efficient power generation has placed fuel cells ~ FCs ! as the frontrunner among alternative power generation technologies. 1,2 The cost of manufacturing FC-based ap- pliances is still too high for the technology to become a huge com- mercial success. Modeling and simulation is being used extensively in research institutions and industry across the world to gain better understanding of the fundamental processes, so that the design cycle can be shortened significantly. Several examples of mathematical modeling of proton exchange membrane PEM FCs can be found in the literature. The majority of the models developed in the early and mid-1990s 3-8 were for sim- plified one-dimensional ~ 1-D ! scenarios. Such an assumption re- duces the governing equations to a form that can be solved either analytically or by using simple numerical techniques. The value of these models is in that they laid the foundation for future multidi- mensional modeling. While 1-D modeling is adequate for prediction of cell performance in the rate-limited regimes, it is inadequate for modeling mass transport limited regimes ~ or high current density regimes ! primarily because any information on the effect of geom- etry on mass transport is lost. In order to understand the effect of mass transport on the cell performance, multidimensional modeling is imperative. Based on this premise, multidimensional modeling was adopted toward the latter half of the nineties. Gurau et al. 9 performed 2-D computational fluid dynamic ~ CFD ! analysis of a PEM FC. In their work, conservation equations were solved for mass, momentum, energy, species, and electric potential. It was as- sumed that the catalyst layer is infinitesimally thin. In the work by Um et al. , 10 the catalyst layer was resolved with the assumption that the solid ~ or electronic !
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