The Hydro-electro-thermal Performance of Air-cooled, Open-cathode Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells: Combined Localised Current Density, Temperature and Water Mapping

Quentin Meyer, Sean Ashton, Rhodri Jervis, Donal P. Finegan, Pierre Boillat, Magali Cochet, Oliver Curnick, Tobias Reisch, Paul Adcock, Paul R. Shearing, Dan J.L. Brett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In situ diagnostic techniques provide a means of understanding the internal workings of fuel cells so that improved designs and operating regimes can be identified. Here, a novel metrology approach is reported that combines current and temperature mapping with water visualisation using neutron radiography. The approach enables a hydro-electro-thermal performance map to be generated that is applied to an air-cooled, open-cathode polymer electrolyte fuel cell. This type of fuel cell exhibits a particularly interesting coupled relationship between water, current and heat, as the air supply has the due role of cooling the stack as well as providing the cathode reactant feed via a single source. It is found that water predominantly accumulates under the cooling channels (thickness of 70-100 μm under the cooling channels and 5-25 μm in the active channels at 0.5 A cm-2), in a similar fashion to the lands in a closed-cathode design, but contrary to passive open-cathode systems. The relationship between current, temperature and water accumulation is complex and highly dependent on location within the cell. However, there is a general trend that higher currents and cooling limitations, especially above 0.7 A cm-2 and below 3.9 × 10-3 m3 s-1, leads to temperatures above 60°C, which dehydrate the membrane (water thickness of 10-25 um) and the cell operates below 0.5 V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Volume180
Early online date24 Aug 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Air-cooled open-cathode polymer electrolyte fuel cell
  • current mapping
  • neutron imaging
  • temperature mapping
  • water mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Electrochemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Hydro-electro-thermal Performance of Air-cooled, Open-cathode Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells: Combined Localised Current Density, Temperature and Water Mapping'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this