Skip to content

Simulation-Assisted Determination of the Start-Up Time of a Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell


Fuel starvation is a major cause of anode corrosion in low temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cells. The fuel cell start-up is a critical step, as hydrogen may not yet be evenly distributed in the active area, leading to local starvation. The present work investigates the hydrogen distribution and risk for starvation during start-up and after nitrogen purge by extending an existing computational fluid dynamic model to capture transient behavior. The results of the numerical model are compared with detailed experimental analysis on a 25 cm2 triple serpentine flow field with good agreement in all aspects and a required time step size of 1 s. This is two to three orders of magnitude larger than the time steps used by other works, resulting in reasonably quick calculation times (e.g., 3 min calculation time for 1 s of experimental testing time using a 2 million element mesh).

Funding source: Open Access Funding by the Graz University of Technology. Experimental work done by the team at TU Graz was supported by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) through the PROTECT project under the 9th call of the program Mobilität der Zukunft as well as the HyTechonomy project, which received financial support by Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft mbH (FFG) FFG-COMET-Projekt and the Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH (SFG). Research conducted by Dr. Željko Penga was supported under the project STIM–REI (contract number: KK., funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund—the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014–2020 (KK.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Austria ; Croatia

Article metrics loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error