The effect of anode bed geometry on the hydraulic behaviour of PEM fuel cells

Highlights

Assessment of geometry effect to PEM fuel cells: three types are numerically studied in detail.

Type of geometry may significantly affect the flow characteristics in the fuel cell.

Effect on pressure loss is more pronounced in serpentine type.

Flowrate distribution among the channels is nonuniform in parallel and interdigitated types.

Geometry affects residence time of the fluid in the fuel cell bed.

Abstract

The influence of the anode bed geometry on the hydraulic behaviour of PEM fuel cells is assessed. Three basic geometrical patterns are studied, namely the interdigitated, the parallel and the serpentine ones, in their original, as well as in modified forms of them, in which their angles have been smoothed. Issues concerning the anode flow field of a fuel cell, the influence of the Reynolds number on pressure drop, the mass flowrate distribution along the anode bed channels and the residence time of the fluid inside the fuel cell are investigated. All different geometries are studied by means of 3D numerical flow simulations. The results indicate that the pressure drop, flowrate nonuniformity in bed channels and residence time increase as the flow Reynolds number increases. The effect of geometry smoothing on the results is also assessed.

Keywords

  • Fuel cell geometry;
  • Pressure loss;
  • Residence time;
  • CFD

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