Modeling the Behavior of a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane within a Fuel Cell Using COMSOL

S. Beharry[1]
[1]University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

One viable alternative to non-renewable fossil fuels is the fuel cell. A special class of FC i.e. Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) has been investigated during the present study. Membrane is a very important part of a PEMFC as most ohmic losses occurs here and limits the maximum operating temperature, causes fuel cross over effect and increase electrochemical kinetics losses resulting in reduced fuel efficiency and cathode catalyst poisoning. Therefore there is a need of an accurate modeling of the membranes to study the overall physical and electrical behaviour of real Fuel Cells. In this project Poly (1-vinylimidazole) or PVIm polymer membrane has been modeled and its performance has been investigated by studying its conductivity, heat flow and weight loss at various temperatures and compositions. Modeling has been done using simulation software, COMSOL Multiphysics 4.2a.