Combined Pore Network and Finite Volume Modeling of Thermal and Water Transport in Porous Transport Layers of PEM Fuel Cells Using Openfoam

Sunday, October 11, 2015: 14:40
Regency D (Hyatt Regency)
J. G. Pharoah (Queen's University), A. French (Queens University), V. Konduru, E. Medici (Michigan Technological University), and J. S. Allen (Michigan Technological University)
Modeling the pore-scale transport in PTL using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is computationally expensive. A pore network model is an excellent tool that allows computation of simpler physical models quickly. In the current work, a pore network model is implemented in the finite volume CFD code, OpenFOAM, to simulate the thermal and mass transport in the Porous Transport Layers (PTL) of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cells. In the model, a network of pores are generated from experimentally determined pore size distributions. This pore network is coupled to the continuum model to study the transient water transport through the PTL. In the paper, a description of the model will be presented and the results of the OpenFOAM model will be compared with those from the in-house pore network model.