This work experimentally investigates the effects of the pyrolytic graphite sheets (PGS) on the performance and thermal management of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) stack. These PGS with the features of light weight and high thermal conductivity serve as heat spreaders in the fuel cell stack for the first time to reduce the volume and weight of cooling systems, and homogenizes the temperature in the reaction areas. A PEMFC stack with an active area of 100 cm2 and 10 cells in series is constructed and used in this research. Five PGS of thickness 0.1 mm are cut into the shape of flow channels and bound to the central five cathode gas channel plates. Four thermocouples are embedded on the cathode gas channel plates to estimate the temperature variation in the stack. It is shown that the maximum power of the stack increase more than 15% with PGS attached. PGS improve the stack performance and alleviate the flooding problem at low cathode flow rates significantly. Results of this study demonstrate the feasibility of application of PGS to the thermal management of a small-to-medium-sized fuel cell stack.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering