Capillaries for water management in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells

J. I.S. Cho, T. P. Neville, P. Trogadas, J. Bailey, P. Shearing, D. J.L. Brett*, M. -O. Coppens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Some of the new liquid water management systems in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells hold great potential in providing flood-free performance and internal humidification. However, current water management systems entail major setbacks, which either inhibit implementation into state-of-the-art architectures, such as stamped metal flow-fields, or restrict their application to certain channel configurations. Here, a novel water management strategy is presented that uses capillary arrays to control liquid water in PEMFCs. These capillaries are laser-drilled into the land of the flow-fields and allow direct removal (wicking) or supply of water (evaporation), depending on the local demand across the electrode. For a 6.25 cm2 active area parallel flow-field, a ∼92% improvement in maximum power density from capillary integration was demonstrated. The proposed mechanism serves as a simple and effective means of achieving robust and reliable fuel cell operation, without incurring additional parasitic losses due to the high pressure drop associated with conventional serpentine flow-fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21949-21958
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Volume43
Issue number48
Early online date29 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from an EPSRC “Frontier Engineering” Award (EP/K038656/1) and a UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences Dean's Scholarship for Jason I. S. Cho. They also thank the EPSRC Centre for Grid-Scale Energy Storage (EP/L014289/1) for access to X-ray tomography equipment and EPSRC funding to the Electrochemical Innovation Lab for supporting this work (EP/M014371/1, EP/M023508/1, EP/M009394/1 and EP/P009050/1). Paul Shearing acknowledges the Royal Academy of Engineering for a Chair in Emerging Technologies.

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from an EPSRC “Frontier Engineering” Award ( EP/K038656/1 ) and a UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences Dean's Scholarship for Jason I. S. Cho. They also thank the EPSRC Centre for Grid-Scale Energy Storage ( EP/L014289/1 ) for access to X-ray tomography equipment and EPSRC funding to the Electrochemical Innovation Lab for supporting this work ( EP/M014371/1 , EP/M023508/1 , EP/M009394/1 and EP/P009050/1 ). Paul Shearing acknowledges the Royal Academy of Engineering for a Chair in Emerging Technologies.

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from an EPSRC ?Frontier Engineering? Award (EP/K038656/1) and a UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences Dean's Scholarship for Jason I. S. Cho. They also thank the EPSRC Centre for Grid-Scale Energy Storage (EP/L014289/1) for access to X-ray tomography equipment and EPSRC funding to the Electrochemical Innovation Lab for supporting this work (EP/M014371/1, EP/M023508/1, EP/M009394/1 and EP/P009050/1). Paul Shearing acknowledges the Royal Academy of Engineering for a Chair in Emerging Technologies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors

Copyright:
Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Capillary
  • Flooding
  • Fuel cell
  • Laser drilling
  • Water management
  • Wicking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Capillaries for water management in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this