International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol.45, No.38, 19745-19760, 2020
Numerical study for in-plane gradient effects of cathode gas diffusion layer on PEMFC under low humidity condition
A numerical study about in-plane porosity and contact angle gradient effects of cathode gas diffusion layer (GDL) on polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) under low humidity condition below 50% relative humidity is performed in this work. Firstly, a numerical model for a fuel cell is developed, which considers mass transfer, electrochemical reaction, and water saturation in cathode GDL. For water saturation in cathode GDL, porosity and contact angle of GDL are also considered in developing the model. Secondly, current density distribution in PEMFC with uniform cathode GDL is scrutinized to design the gradient cathode GDL. Finally, current density distributions in PEMFC with gradient cathode GDL and uniform cathode GDL are compared. At the gas inlet side, the current density is higher in GDL with a gradient than GDL with high porosity and large contact angle. At the outlet side, the current density is higher in GDL with a gradient than GDL with low porosity and small contact angle. As a result, gradient cathode GDL increases the maximum power by 9% than GDL with low porosity and small contact angle. Moreover, gradient cathode GDL uniformizes the current density distribution by 4% than GDL with high porosity and large contact angle. (C) 2020 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.