Available online at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpowsour.2013.05.018
Tong, Shijie, John Bachman, Anthony Santamaria, Jae Wan Park (2013) Experimental Investigation on a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) Parallel Flow Field Design with External Two-Valve Regulation on Cathode Channels. Journal of Power Sources 242, 195 - 201
Parallel/interdigitated/serpentine flow field PEM fuel cells have similar performance under low overvoltage operation. At higher overvoltage, interdigitated/serpentine flow field performance may exceed parallel flow field designs due to better water removal and more uniform reactant distribution by convective reactant flow in the GDL under land area, i.e. cross flow. However, serpentine flow field design suffers from high pumping losses and the risk of local flooding at channel U-bends. Additionally, interdigitated flow field designs may have higher local flooding risk in the inlet channels and relatively large pumping requirement at low current densities. In this study, a novel parallel flow field design with external two-valve regulation on the cathode was presented. Two valves introduced continuous pressure differences to two separate manifolds in the cathode that induce cross flow across the land areas. Moreover, both valves remained partially open to maintain a good water removal from flow channels. Comparative test results showed the proposed design surpasses performance of both parallel and interdigitated flow field design at operation current density of 0.7 A cm−2 or higher. The performance enhancement is 10.9% at peak power density point (0.387 W cm−2 @ 0.99 A cm−2) compared to parallel flow field taking into account pumping losses.
Keywords: PEM fuel cell, Cross flow, Two valve regulation, Parallel flow field