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Modeling of HTPEM Fuel Cell Start-Up Process by Using COMSOL Multiphysics

Y. Wang1 D. Uwe Sauer1
1Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage Systems, Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA), RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

Cooling channel and gas channel heating.

HTPEM fuel cells are considered to be the next generation fuel cells. The electrochemical kinetics for electrode reactions are enhanced by using PBI membrane at an operation temperature between 160-180 °C comparing to LTPEM fuel cells. But starting HTPEM fuel cells from room temperature to an operation temperature is a challenge. In this work, using preheated air to heat up the fuel cells through the gas channels or cooling channels and their combinations with ohmic heating by fuel cell reaction are investigated. Based on a 3D COMSOL model of a single HTPEM fuel cell, start-up process is analyzed by comparing start-up time and thermal behaviors inside the fuel cell. Finally, optimal start-up methods are proposed for the HTPEM fuel cell.

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