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A Three-dimensional Agglomerate Model of an Anion Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

[+] Author and Article Information
Bruno S. Machado

School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
b.de-souza-machado1@newcastle.ac.uk

Nilanjan Chakraborty

School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
nilanjan.chakraborty@newcastle.ac.uk

Mohamed Mamlouk

School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
mohamed.mamlouk@newcastle.ac.uk

Prodip K. Das

School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
prodip.das@newcastle.ac.uk

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037942 History: Received May 08, 2017; Revised September 01, 2017

Abstract

In this study, a three-dimensional agglomerate model of an anion exchange membrane fuel cell is proposed in order to account the detailed composition of the catalyst layers (CLs). Here, a detailed comparison between the agglomerate and a macro-homogeneous model is provided, elucidating the effects of the first implementation on the overall performance and the individual losses, the effects operating temperature and inlet relative humidity on the cell performance, and the catalyst layer utilisation by the effectiveness factor. The results show that the macro-homogeneous model overestimates the cell performance compared to the agglomerate model due to the resistances associated with the species and ionic transport in the catalyst layers. Consequently the hydration is negatively affected, resulting in a higher ohmic resistance. The activation overpotential is over-predicted by the macro-homogeneous model, as the agglomerate model relates the transportation resistances within the domain with the CL composition. Despite the higher utilisation in the anode CL, the cathode CL utilisation presents significant drop near the membrane-CL interface, due to the higher current density and low oxygen concentration. Additionally, the effects of operating temperature and relative humidity at the flow channel inlet were analysed. Similar to the macro-homogeneous model, the overall cell performance of the agglomerate model is enhanced with increasing operating temperature due to the better electrochemical kinetics. However, as the relative humidity at the inlet is reduced, the overall performance of the cell deteriorates due to the poor hydration of the membrane.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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