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Energies 2016, 9(12), 1015; doi:10.3390/en9121015

Numerical Study of the Dynamic Response of Heat and Mass Transfer to Operation Mode Switching of a Unitized Regenerative Fuel Cell

1
MOE Key Laboratory of Enhanced Heat Transfer and Energy Conservation, and Beijing Key Laboratory of Heat Transfer and Energy Conversion, College of Environmental and Energy Engineering, Beijing University of Technology, Beijing 100124, China
2
Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing, Beijing 100081, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Wei-Hsin Chen
Received: 29 September 2016 / Revised: 14 November 2016 / Accepted: 21 November 2016 / Published: 1 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrogen Production, Separation and Applications)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2653 KB, uploaded 1 December 2016]   |  

Abstract

Knowledge concerning the complicated changes of mass and heat transfer is desired to improve the performance and durability of unitized regenerative fuel cells (URFCs). In this study, a transient, non-isothermal, single-phase, and multi-physics mathematical model for a URFC based on the proton exchange membrane is generated to investigate transient responses in the process of operation mode switching from fuel cell (FC) to electrolysis cell (EC). Various heat generation mechanisms, including Joule heat, reaction heat, and the heat attributed to activation polarizations, have been considered in the transient model coupled with electrochemical reaction and mass transfer in porous electrodes. The polarization curves of the steady-state models are validated by experimental data in the literatures. Numerical results reveal that current density, gas mass fractions, and temperature suddenly change with the sudden change of operating voltage in the mode switching process. The response time of temperature is longer than that of current density and gas mass fractions. In both FC and EC modes, the cell temperature and gradient of gas mass fraction in the oxygen side are larger than that in the hydrogen side. The temperature difference of the entire cell is less than 1.5 K. The highest temperature appears at oxygen-side catalyst layer under the FC mode and at membrane under a more stable EC mode. The cell is exothermic all the time. These dynamic responses and phenomena have important implications for heat analysis and provide proven guidelines for the improvement of URFCs mode switching. View Full-Text
Keywords: unitized regenerative fuel cells; mode switching; mass transfer; heat transfer; transient response unitized regenerative fuel cells; mode switching; mass transfer; heat transfer; transient response
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Xiao, H.; Guo, H.; Ye, F.; Ma, C. Numerical Study of the Dynamic Response of Heat and Mass Transfer to Operation Mode Switching of a Unitized Regenerative Fuel Cell. Energies 2016, 9, 1015.

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