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Modelling and Experimental Analysis of a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Water Electrolysis Cell at Different Operating Temperatures


In this paper, a simplified model of a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) water electrolysis cell is presented and compared with experimental data at 60 ◦C and 80 ◦C. The model utilizes the same modelling approach used in previous work where the electrolyzer cell is divided in four subsections: cathode, anode, membrane and voltage. The model of the electrodes includes key electrochemical reactions and gas transport mechanism (i.e., H2, O2 and H2O) whereas the model of the membrane includes physical mechanisms such as water diffusion, electro osmotic drag and hydraulic pressure. Voltage was modelled including main overpotentials (i.e., activation, ohmic, concentration). First and second law efficiencies were defined. Key empirical parameters depending on temperature were identified in the activation and ohmic overpotentials. The electrodes reference exchange current densities and change transfer coefficients were related to activation overpotentials whereas hydrogen ion diffusion to Ohmic overvoltages. These model parameters were empirically fitted so that polarization curve obtained by the model predicted well the voltage at different current found by the experimental results. Finally, from the efficiency calculation, it was shown that at low current densities the electrolyzer cell absorbs heat from the surroundings. The model is not able to describe the transients involved during the cell electrochemical reactions, however these processes are assumed relatively fast. For this reason, the model can be implemented in system dynamic modelling for hydrogen production and storage where components dynamic is generally slower compared to the cell electrochemical reactions dynamics.

Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Denmark ; Italy

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