Effects of geometry/dimensions of gas flow channels and operating conditions on high-temperature PEM fuel cells

Hong Liu, Peiwen Li, Alexandra Hartz, Kai Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In order to accomplish the objective of studying and optimizing the flow channel geometries and dimensions for high-temperature proton-exchange-membrane (PEM) fuel cells (with operating temperatures above 120 °C), a mathematical model has been developed in this work. As the major step of the modeling, the average concentrations of gas species in bulk flows as well as in the layers of electrodes are calculated through mass transfer analysis in one-dimensional direction normal to the membrane-electrodes layers. Therefore, the concentration and activation polarizations are simulated with much less computational work compared to a three-dimensional numerical model. The ohmic loss is taken into consideration through analysis of a representative network circuit simulating the electron and proton conduction in the elements of electrodes and electrolyte, respectively. The simulated results for high-temperature PEM fuel cells were compared with experimental results from literature. The results from the simulation and experimental tests showed good agreement, which validated the mathematical model. As the model requires less computational work, it was used to analyze a large number of cases with different gas flow channel dimensions and operating conditions, and optimization to the dimensions of channels and ribs was accomplished.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-89
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2015


  • Flow channels
  • High-temperature PEM fuel cells
  • Mathematical model
  • Optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Energy


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