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A Thermodynamic Analysis of an Air-Cooled Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Operated in Different Climate Regions

Department of Energy Technology, Aalborg University, 9100 Aalborg, Denmark
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Energies 2020, 13(10), 2611; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13102611 (registering DOI)
Received: 23 April 2020 / Revised: 14 May 2020 / Accepted: 18 May 2020 / Published: 20 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hydrogen Energy)
A fundamental thermodynamic analysis of an air-cooled fuel cell, where the reactant air stream is also the coolant stream, is presented. The adiabatic cell temperature of such a fuel cell is calculated in a similar way as the adiabatic flame temperature in a combustion process. Diagrams that show the dependency of the cathode outlet temperature, the stoichiometric flow ratio and the operating cell voltage are developed. These diagrams can help fuel cell manufacturers to identify a suitable blower and a suitable operating regime for their fuel cell stacks. It is found that for standard conditions, reasonable cell temperatures are obtained for cathode stoichiometric flow ratios of ξ = 50 and higher, which is in very good agreement with manufacturer’s recommendations. Under very cold ambient conditions, the suggested stoichiometric flow ratio is only in the range of ξ = 20 in order to obtain a useful fuel cell operating temperature. The outside relative humidity only plays a role at ambient temperatures above 40 °C, and the predicted stoichiometric flow ratios should be above ξ = 70 in this region. From a thermodynamic perspective, it is suggested that the adiabatic outlet temperature is a suitable definition of the fuel cell operating temperature. View Full-Text
Keywords: air-cooled proton exchange membrane fuel cells; adiabatic fuel cell temperature; thermodynamic analysis of proton exchange membrane fuel cells air-cooled proton exchange membrane fuel cells; adiabatic fuel cell temperature; thermodynamic analysis of proton exchange membrane fuel cells
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Berning, T.; Knudsen Kær, S. A Thermodynamic Analysis of an Air-Cooled Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Operated in Different Climate Regions. Energies 2020, 13, 2611.

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