Computational modeling and optimization of proton exchange membrane fuel cells

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dc.contributor.author Secanell Gallart, Marc
dc.date.accessioned 2007-11-13T22:40:51Z
dc.date.available 2007-11-13T22:40:51Z
dc.date.copyright 2007 en_US
dc.date.issued 2007-11-13T22:40:51Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/249
dc.description.abstract Improvements in performance, reliability and durability as well as reductions in production costs, remain critical prerequisites for the commercialization of proton exchange membrane fuel cells. In this thesis, a computational framework for fuel cell analysis and optimization is presented as an innovative alternative to the time consuming trial-and-error process currently used for fuel cell design. The framework is based on a two-dimensional through-the-channel isothermal, isobaric and single phase membrane electrode assembly (MEA) model. The model input parameters are the manufacturing parameters used to build the MEA: platinum loading, platinum to carbon ratio, electrolyte content and gas diffusion layer porosity. The governing equations of the fuel cell model are solved using Netwon's algorithm and an adaptive finite element method in order to achieve quadratic convergence and a mesh independent solution respectively. The analysis module is used to solve two optimization problems: i) maximize performance; and, ii) maximize performance while minimizing the production cost of the MEA. To solve these problems a gradient-based optimization algorithm is used in conjunction with analytical sensitivities. The presented computational framework is the first attempt in the literature to combine highly efficient analysis and optimization methods to perform optimization in order to tackle large-scale problems. The framework presented is capable of solving a complete MEA optimization problem with state-of-the-art electrode models in approximately 30 minutes. The optimization results show that it is possible to achieve Pt-specific power density for the optimized MEAs of 0.422 $g_{Pt}/kW$. This value is extremely close to the target of 0.4 $g_{Pt}/kW$ for large-scale implementation and demonstrate the potential of using numerical optimization for fuel cell design. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.subject fuel cell en_US
dc.subject catalyst layer en_US
dc.subject fuel cell design en_US
dc.subject agglomerate model en_US
dc.subject multidisciplinary design optimization en_US
dc.subject adaptive finite elements en_US
dc.subject.lcsh UVic Subject Index::Sciences and Engineering::Engineering::Mechanical engineering en_US
dc.title Computational modeling and optimization of proton exchange membrane fuel cells en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Djilali, Ned
dc.contributor.supervisor Suleman, Afzal
dc.degree.department Dept. of Mechanical Engineering en_US
dc.degree.level Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation M. Secanell, K. Karan, A. Suleman and N. Djilali, “Optimal Design of Ultra-Low Platinum PEMFC Anode Electrodes”, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, accepted for publication October 2007. en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation M. Secanell, K. Karan, A. Suleman and N. Djilali, “Multi-Variable Optimization of PEMFC Cathodes using an Agglomerate Model”, Electrochimica Acta, 52(22):6318-6337, June 2007. en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation M. Secanell, B. Carnes, A. Suleman and N. Djilali, “Numerical Optimization of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Cathode Electrodes”, Electrochimica Acta, 52(7):2668-2682, February 2007. en_US

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