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A quasi-2D transient model of proton exchange membrane fuel cell with anode recirculation

Wang, Bowen, Wu, Kangcheng, Yang, Zirong, Jiao, Kui
Energy conversion and management 2018 v.171 pp. 1463-1475
anodes, cathodes, fuel cells, humidity, hydrogen, models, nitrogen
Anode recirculation of proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is considered as an effective way for self-humidification and efficient hydrogen utilization, but nitrogen crossover presents a problem. To investigate the transient characteristics of PEMFC with anode recirculation, a comprehensive quasi-2D non-isothermal transient model is developed. The simulation results show that for a PEMFC initially operated with dry hydrogen, anode recirculation leads to certain level of performance increase in the beginning due to self-humidification effect, and then the performance decreases caused by nitrogen crossover, hydrogen dilution and the increase of anode activation loss. The nitrogen accumulation in anode downstream is severer than upstream, and the performance decline rate decreases with increasing cathode inlet velocity under the simulated operating conditions. The performance and current density distribution uniformity of counter-flow configuration is better than co-flow under low inlet humidity, but the difference becomes smaller with anode recirculation. Anode recirculation and dead-ended anode (DEA) operation both have self-humidification effect, and compared to DEA, the advantages of anode recirculation can be summarized as lower performance decline rate, less chance of local hydrogen starvation and better current density distribution uniformity.