A Segmented Cell Approach for Studying the Effects of Serpentine Flow Field Parameters on PEMFC Current Distribution

Tatyana V. Reshetenko, Guido Bender, Keith Bethune, Richard Rocheleau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus Citations

Abstract

A serpentine flow field is a commonly used design in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Consequently, optimization of the flow field parameters is critically needed. A segmented cell system was used to study the impact of the flow field's parameters on the current distribution in a PEMFC, and the data obtained were analyzed in terms of voltage overpotentials. 6-Channel and 10-channel serpentine flow field designs were investigated. At low current the segments performance was found to slightly decrease for a 10-channel serpentine flow field. However, increasing the number of channels increased the fuel cell performance when operating at high current and the cell performance became more uniform downstream. The observed improvement in fuel cell performance was attributed to a decrease in mass transfer voltage losses (permeability and diffusion), due to an increased pressure drop. Spatially distributed electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) data showed differences in the local segment impedance response and confirmed the performance distribution and the impact of the flow field design.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)571-579
Number of pages9
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Volume88
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5600-57679

Keywords

  • Current distribution
  • Flow field
  • PEMFC
  • Segmented cell
  • Spatial EIS

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