Progress of Cryogenics and Isotopes Separation , ISSN: 1582-2575
2017, Volume 20, Issue 1

A CFD investigation regarding the catalyst layer structure influence on the PEM fuel cell performance

Elena Carcadea * , Mihai Varlam , Adriana Marinoiu , Mircea Raceanu , Catalin Jianu , Ioan Stefanescu , Alexandru Ciocan

National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenics and Isotopic Technologies - ICSI Rm. Valcea, Uzinei Street no. 4, PO Box Râureni 7, 240050, Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania

*Corresponding author: Elena Carcadea, phone: 0250.732.744; fax: 0250.732.746; E-mail:

Published: 2017


A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model based on ANSYS MULTIPHYSICS software and PEM fuel cell Module which incorporates the mass transport resistance due to ionomer film and liquid water film surrounding the catalyst particlesis presented in this study. The model analyzed simultaneously the electrochemical kinetics and multi-component species transport. Coupled transport and electrochemical kinetics equations are solved using a single domain formulation for a serpentine fuel cell with 5cm2 active area. Different values for the catalyst agglomerate diameter and for the resistance due to ionomer surrounding the agglomerates have been considered in our study in order to determine their influence on the performance. The results showed that there is a range for catalyst agglomerate diameters, between 10 and 40 nm, where the current density obtained is optimum. A low resistance due to liquid water film surrounding the catalyst particles means that the reactants will reach faster the catalyst sites and that the water produced will be removed easily from the catalyst layer, therefore an increase in the PEMFC performance can be achieved.


catalyst layer structure, numerical investigation, PEM fuel cell

Tag search catalyst layer structure numerical investigation PEM fuel cell