On the Effect of the Flow Field Plate’s Geometry on the Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Water Electrolysis Cell’s Performance

Thursday, 5 October 2017: 15:00
National Harbor 15 (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)


The key for successful commercialization of fuel cell products, such as Fuel Cell Vehicle, Hydrogen-Powered busses, and Hydrogen-Powered Passenger Train is compact, safe, reliable, rapid response, high hydrogen purity, dynamic operation, and high pressure system for hydrogen storage technology. These quality characteristics of hydrogen storage technology can be met by polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolysis (PEMWE) technology. Also the high compatibility of PEMWE technology with intermittent renewable energy sources leads to quicker commercialization of fuel cell products.

Flow field plates (FFPs) along with the current collectors represent 48% of the stack cost. Also, FFPs are responsible for distributing reactant water and removing the pure oxygen with unreacted water from the anode side and hydrogen with crossed over water from the cathode side. Thus, FFPs must be probably designed to distribute reactant water evenly resulting in more uniform electrochemical reaction over all the active area of the PEMWE cell. Uniform electrochemical reaction leads to uniform current and temperature distribution. Therefore, the cell performance might be developed and degradation rate might be reduced.

The present work presents the effect of the most common FFPs geometries; single serpentine, interdigitated, and parallel geometry on the polarization resistances using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements and on the whole cell performance using the IV curve measurements are experimentally demonstrated. Each anode FFP’s geometry is tested with three different cathode’s FEPs geometries. Thus, the effect 9 geometries combined between the anode and the cathode of a 50 cm2 PEMWE cell are presented in this work. All the geometries have the same inlet and outlet manifold design. Thus, the pressure drop between the inlet and the outlet of each FFP’s geometry is also presented in this work.