Seminar -"Multiscale, Multi-phase Modelling of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells", by Marc Secanell
Wednesday, April 24th, 2019. Time: 12h.
Place: O.C. Zienkiewicz Conference Room, C1 Building, UPC Campus Nord, Barcelona
Zero-emission polymer electrolyte fuel cell vehicles, such as the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell, have demonstrated all the performance attributes that customers expect, such as long range, fast re-fuelling and cold start. However, fuel cells are still too costly to enable their successful commercialization. One of the major contributors to fuel cell costs is the platinum used inside the fuel cell electrodes. In order to reduce the cost of fuel cells, it is imperative to improve their power density. This can be achieved by designing new materials that allow the fuel cell to operate at higher current density by quickly and efficiently removing the liquid water form inside the electrode.
In this research seminar, an introduction to polymer electrolyte fuel cells will be provided, followed by an overview of the current research efforts being undertaken by our research group in the area of multi-scale, multi-phase flow. Three two-phase flow numerical models will be discussed: a) pore-scale models, i.e., sub-micron-scale; b) cell-level, volume-average models, i.e., micron-scale; and c) channel models, i.e., mm-scale. In order to analyze pore-scale models, a full morphology model is used to invade the pore structure which is obtained from tomographic images [1,2]. To analyze cell-level simulations, Darcy’s law is used to study the transport of gas and liquid phases, and then a closure model based on the pore size distribution of the porous material is used to estimate local saturation and other transport properties, including evaporation . Finally, to simulate droplets in fuel cell channels, a Lagrangian-Eulerian framework, including surface tension, is used. Pore-scale and cell-scale models are implemented in the open source software OpenFCST, www.openfcst.org, while the channel model in implemented in Kratos multiphysics.
 M Sabharwal, LM Pant, A Putz, D Susac, J Jankovic, M Secanell. Analysis of catalyst layer microstructures: From imaging to performance, Fuel Cells 16 (6), 734-753, 2016.
 M Sabharwal, JT Gostick, M Secanell. Virtual liquid water intrusion in fuel cell gas diffusion media, Journal of The Electrochemical Society 165 (7), F553-F563, 2018.
 J Zhou, A Putz, M Secanell, A Mixed Wettability Pore Size Distribution Based Mathematical Model for Analyzing Two-Phase Flow in Porous Electrodes I. Mathematical Model, Journal of The Electrochemical Society 164 (6), F530-F539, 2017.
 A Jarauta, P Ryzhakov, J Pons-Prats, M Secanell, An implicit surface tension model for the analysis of droplet dynamics, Journal of Computational Physics 374, 1196-1218, 2018.