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Novel design of a disk-shaped compacted micro-structured air-breathing PEM fuel cell

Author(s): Maher A.R. Sadiq Al-Baghdadi

Journal: International Journal of Energy and Environment
ISSN 2076-2895

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 161;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Ambient air-breathing | Fuel cell modelling | CFD | Compacted-design Micro-PEM fuel cell | Disk-shaped

The presence of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology makes it possible to manufacture the miniaturized fuel cell systems for application in portable electronic devices. The majority of research on micro-scale fuel cells is aimed at micro-power applications. There are many new miniaturized applications which can only be realized if a higher energy density power source is available compared to button cells and other small batteries. In small-scale applications, the fuel cell should be exceptionally small and have highest energy density. One way to achieve these requirements is to reduce the thickness of the cell (compacted-design) for increasing the volumetric power density of a fuel cell power supply. A novel, simple to construct, air-breathing micro-structured PEM fuel cell which work in still or slowly moving air has been developed. The novel geometry enables optimum air access to the cathode without the need for pumps, fans or similar devices. In addition, the new design can achieve much higher active area to volume ratios, and hence higher volumetric power densities. Three-dimensional, multi-phase, non-isothermal CFD model of this novel design has been developed. This comprehensive model account for the major transport phenomena in an air-breathing micro-structured PEM fuel cell: convective and diffusive heat and mass transfer, electrode kinetics, transport and phase-change mechanism of water, and potential fields. The model is shown to understand the many interacting, complex electrochemical, and transport phenomena that cannot be studied experimentally. Fully three-dimensional results of the species profiles, temperature distribution, potential distribution, and local current density distribution are presented and analyzed with a focus on the physical insight and fundamental understanding. They can provide a solid basis for optimizing the geometry of the PEM micro fuel cell stack running with a passive mode.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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