A PEM fuel cell with metal foam as flow distributor

Chung Jen Tseng, Bin Tsang Tsai, Zhong Sheng Liu, Tien Chun Cheng, Wen Chen Chang, Shih Kun Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this work, we report our experimental results of the PEM fuel cell with metal foam as flow distributor. These experimental results show the characteristics of the PEM fuel cell with the metal foam as flow distributor and extend our understanding of the relation between cell performance and mass transport properties into a region of parameters that the conventional PEM unit cell cannot provide. The comparison in polarization curve is made between the PEM unit cell with different metal-foam properties and the PEM unit cell with graphite flow channel plate as flow distributor. The experimental results show that the PEM fuel cell with metal foam as flow distributor possesses some unique characteristics compared with the conventional PEM unit cell with flow channel plate as flow distributor. The unique characteristics are listed in this paper with our preliminary analysis. Due to the high porosity of metal-foam (as high as 95%) plus convective flow through the metal-foam, mass transport limitation phenomenon is not as pronounced as in the case of conventional PEM unit cell with flow channel plate as flow distributor. Another interesting phenomenon is that electrical conductivity of metal-foam plays a significant role in performance, which is seldom the case in the conventional PEM unit cell with flow channel plate as flow distributor. Although there are several technical challenges to be overcome for the current form of metal-foam to replace flow channel plates, the unique mass-transport properties of metal foam plus its light weight are very attractive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Volume62
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • Flow distributor
  • Mass transport
  • Metal foam
  • PEM fuel cell

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