PEM fuel cell with high-performance bipolar plates
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The consumption of electricity has drastically increased over the last decade and the need for cheap energy efficient sources has augmented. Fuel cells have been proposed as possible power sources to address issues that involve energy production and the environment. A proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is a likely alternative as a zero-emission source due to its high efficiency, low temperature operation and high power density. The Bipolar plate is a vital element of PEM fuel cell, which supplies fuel and oxidant to reactive sites, removes reaction products, collects produced current and increases the effective contact area for higher heat and mass transport. It also represents more than 60% of the weight and 30% of the total cost in a fuel cell stack. Improving the layout of the flow-field and use of lightweight materials can significantly reduce the weight of the fuel cell stack. Different material combinations, flow-field layouts and fabrication techniques will be studied to achieve the previously mentioned functions efficiently, with the aim of obtaining higher performance. Bipolar plates with different flow field layouts have been designed and their effect on the PEM fuel cell will be measured using computational multiphysics models.