Suggested Citation: Badrinarayanan, Paravastu, Anthony R. Eggert, Robert M. Moore (2001) Minimizing the Water and Thermal Management Parasitic Loads in Fuel Cell Vehicles. International Journal of Transport Phenomena 3 (3), 213 - 229
Fuel cell systems are being considered as potential substitutes for internal-combustion engines in automobiles. Water and thermal management (WTM) of a fuel cell system is critical in maintaining water self-sufficiency and maximizing performance. This paper deals with the analysis of a load-following indirect-methanol fuel cell (IMFC) system based on a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack. The first part of this analysis illustrates a methodology to understand the complex interactions taking place inside the fuel cell system. Next we investigate the various trade-offs that occur between the various system components and thereby devise strategies to minimize the water and thermal management parasitic loads. Finally we apply this strategy to a particular system and discuss how it can impact overall system optimization.