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Influences of current collector foils with different opening ratios in passive polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells

: Krumbholz, S.; Kaiser, J.; Weiland, M.; Hahn, R.; Reichl, H.


Journal of power sources 196 (2011), Nr.12, S.5277-5281
ISSN: 0378-7753
ISSN: 1873-2755
Fraunhofer IZM ()

Even if many fuel cell applications are ready to start into the market, more research needs to be done to improve the currently achieved power density further. In the power range of about 10-20 W micro-PEM fuel cells have a high improvement potential concerning the current collector design and the design of the passive air supply. These two points have a high impact on the water management of a PEM fuel cell and allow a significant decrease of the fuel cell system in size and weight. The current work shows calculations for the fuel cell impedance based on a mathematical resistance model which was already presented for similarly constructed direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) [4]. Selected publications on water uptake and membrane humidification for the used Gore MEAs [6,7] are taken into account. The model is evaluated with realized versions of cathode side current collector designs, which influence the maximum power density and the self-heating of the fuel cell stack. S everal measurement results are presented, which can confirm the validity of the used model. A very low opening ratio of less than 0.1 induces a very high concentration gradient of the generated water in relation to the net water outtake. From this it follows that the cell impedance is very low and the membrane has a very high ionic conductivity. Additionally it can be shown that the power density of these fuel cells is twice as high as for the cells with an opening ratio greater than 0.45.