These devices allow the chemical energy of fuels such as hydrogen to be directly converted into electricity.
A team from the Department of Energy Engineering at the University of Seville has developed experimental research focused on the design of a bioinspired PEM fuel cell. The model they have obtained has managed to reach a maximum power of up to 6.0% higher than the design they took as a reference.
Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs) are electrochemical devices that directly convert the chemical energy of fuels such as hydrogen into electricity, with high efficiency and generating only water as a by-product. The geometry of the channels in the bipolar plate through which the reactants are distributed has a considerable impact on the performance of the fuel cell.
Bipolar plate designs based on nature-inspired structures such as leaves, lungs, or sponges have been successfully explored to date, but have not yet reached their full potential.
With the aim of investigating new designs with improved performance, this work presents an experimental analysis of a novel bioinspired design of the channels of a PEMFC. Starting from a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of the flow of different initial biomimetic designs, the one with the best performance in terms of reactant distribution, which includes insertions of porous material in the central area of the plate, was selected, manufactured and experimentally tested. , instead of channels.
The results of the new biomimetic design were analyzed and compared with a parallel coil model, which was taken as a reference, indicating that the proposed new design is especially suitable for improving fuel cell water management in high humidity conditions. reactants, achieving up to 6.0% higher peak power compared to the reference design.
This project has been developed thanks to the PID2019-104441RB-I00 grant financed by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and the P20_01231 grant financed by PAIDI 2020 Junta de Andalucía, co-financed with “ERDF a way of making Europe” funds by the European Union.