Licentiate seminar

Modelling of Transport Phenomena in Direct Methanol and Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Defendant Main Advisor Extra Advisor Date
Erik Birgersson Michael Vynnycky 2003-02-27


Evaluation committee


This thesis deals with modelling of two types of fuel cells, namely the direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) and proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). One-phase models, comprising conservation of mass, momentum and species, are derived and analysed for the anode of the DMFC and the cathode of the PEMFC. The impact of hydrodynamic, electrochemical and geometrical features on the fuel cell performance are studied. The slenderness of the fuel cells allows the use of a narrow-gap approximation, leading to reduced models, with benefits such as reduced computational cost and understanding of the physical trends prior to any numerical computations. Four different flow distributors are studied for the cathode of the PEMFC. These are: parallel flow channels run in coflow or counterflow arrangement, interdigitated channels and a foam. A quantitative comparison shows that the interdigitated channels can sustain the highest current densities, followed in descending order by the foam, the counterflow and coflow channels.
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