Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Modeling, simulation and experimental validation of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells and alkaline membrane fuel cells
by Martins, Lauber De Souza, Ph.D., The Florida State University, 2011, 112; 3519350
Abstract (Summary)

Fuel cell technology is currently showing itself as a promising alternative for clean energy production due to its high efficiency and minimum environmental impact. However, its high cost is still a challenge that prevents this technology of being extensively used. A new conception and optimization are a natural alternative to reduce cost and make fuel cells increasingly more attractive for power generation. Geometric design, including the internal structure and external shape, considerably affect the thermal, fluid and electrochemical characteristics, which determines the polarization curves as well as the thermal and power inertia. In order to predict the response of fuel cells according to the variation of manufacturing materials, physical properties, operating and design parameters, a reliable simulation model (and computationally fast) is necessary. A simplified and comprehensive mathematical model for a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is developed and experimentally validated. Numerical results are obtained with the model for an existing set of ten commercial unit PEM fuel cells. The computed polarization and power curves are directly compared to the experimentally measured ones with good qualitative and quantitative agreement. Alkaline Membrane Fuel Cell (AMFC) is a recently developed fuel cell type, which has shown good experimental results. A mathematical model for a single AMFC with square section and fixed volume is introduced. The model is based on electrochemical principles, conservation of mass, momentum, energy and species. It also takes into account pressure drop in the gas channels and gradient of temperature with respect to space in the flow direction. The simulation results comprise temperature, net power, polarization curves and gas channels pressure drop. The computed temperature, polarization and power curves for AMFC are directly compared to the experimentally measured ones (using a prototype built in laboratory) with good qualitative and quantitative agreement. Therefore, the model is expected to be a useful tool for PEMFC and AMFC design and optimization.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ordonez, Juan C.
Commitee: Alvi, Farrukh, Li, Hui, Moore, Carl A.
School: The Florida State University
Department: Mechanical Engineering
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Alternative Energy, Mechanical engineering
Keywords: Alkaline fuel cells, Experimental validation, Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, Thermodynamics
Publication Number: 3519350
ISBN: 978-1-267-52212-2
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