Proton exchange membrane fuel cell degradation: A parametric analysis using Computational Fluid Dynamics

ÖZDEN, Ender
Tarı, İlker
A Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell is numerically investigated both as fresh and as degraded with the help of observed degradation patterns reported in the literature. The fresh fuel cell model is validated and verified with the data from the literature. Modifying the model by varying the parameters affected by degradation, a degraded PEM fuel cell model is created. The degraded fuel cell is parametrically analyzed by using a commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software. The investigated parameters are the membrane equivalent weight, the Catalyst Layer (CL) porosity and viscous resistance, the Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL) porosity and viscous resistance, and the bipolar plate contact resistance. It is shown for the first time that PEM fuel cell overall degradation can be numerically estimated by combining experimental data from degraded individual components. By comparing the simulation results for the fresh and the degraded PEM fuel cells for two years of operation, it is concluded that the effects of overall degradation on cell potential is significant - estimated to be 17% around the operating point of the fuel cell at 0.95 V open circuit voltage and 70 degrees C operating temperature.