Water transport study in high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cell stack

Journal Article (2014)


International Journal of Hydrogen Energy







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A study of water transport in a high temperature phosphoric acid doped polybenzimidazole (PBI) membrane fuel cell stack is reported. Tests with different stoichiometries of dry cathode and different humidity levels of anode are performed. It is found that water transport across the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) is noteworthy and that water vapor partial pressure on the anode outlet is almost always higher than on the cathode outlet, even when using dry hydrogen. The water transport is a strong function of current density but it also depends on stoichiometry and humidity level. In a series of tests with dry nitrogen on one side and humid nitrogen on the other side, the membrane's water permeability coefficient is determined to be 2.4 × 10-13 mol s-1 cm-1 Pa-1 at 160 °C which is more than an order of magnitude higher than the values previously reported in the literature. Also, the results indicate that the permeability coefficient might be relative humidity dependent and could even be somewhat higher than the value reported here, but further investigation is needed. The experimental findings are reproduced and explained with a 2D steady state computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. Internal water transport profiles across the membrane and along the gas flow channels are presented and discussed.


power generation control.

Author keywords

HTPEM, PBI, water transport, humidification, modeling

Scientific reference

D. Bezmalinovic, S. Strahl, V. Roda and A.P. Husar. Water transport study in high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cell stack. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 39(20): 10627–10640, 2014.