Main content area

Design of an innovative distributor to improve flow uniformity using cylindrical obstacles in header of a fuel cell

Dabiri, Soroush, Hashemi, Mohammadreza, Rahimi, Mohammadfazel, Bahiraei, Mehdi, Khodabandeh, Erfan
Energy 2018 v.152 pp. 719-731
clean energy, fuel cells, global warming, greenhouse gases, mass flow, models, renewable resources
Since the greenhouse gas effect results in global warming, many attempts are made for substitution of renewable resources. In this regard, fuel cells are employed as important devices in the clean energy applications. Therefore, it is essential to implement efficient techniques to enhance the efficiency of fuel cells. In a parallel channel fuel cell, the efficiency of the device increases by passing the reactants through the reacting channels uniformly. As a result, the present research attempts to design a new distributor capable to be utilized in proton exchange membrane fuel cells, while embedding small cylindrical obstacles to improve uniformity of the flow distribution among the channels. The trial-and-error method is utilized to design the two-dimensional model with a specific uniformity level. Subsequently, the distributor scheme is modeled three-dimensionally integrated to the channels and collector. The modeled geometry is numerically evaluated by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The effects of the mass flow rate are analyzed and discussed. The results show that by applying cylindrical obstacles in the distributor, the flow becomes more uniform, such that the maldistribution factor decreases between 35% and 51% for different Reynolds numbers. Moreover, the pressure drop intensifies by increasing the mass flow rate.