Progress of Cryogenics and Isotopes Separation , ISSN: 1582-2575
2009, Volume 12, Issue 23+24

New Approach for Dynamic Flow Management Within the PEMFC Stack

Mihai Varlam , Mihai Culcer * , Elena Carcadea , Ioan Stefanescu , Mariana Iliescu , Adrian Enache

National Center for Hydrogen & Fuel Cell – ICSI Rm.Valcea, Romania

*Corresponding author: Mihai Culcer, e-mail:

Published: June 2009


An adequate gas and water flow management is a key issue to reach and maintain a higher output power for a PEM fuel cell stack. One of the main aspects which could limit the performance of a PEM fuel cell stack is the weak capability for a non-uniform water distribution management within the fuel cell. The produced water could become a handicap to attain the best working performance by blocking the catalytic surfaces and by preventing the mass transport process. Usually, the excess water is removed in one cell, comparatively to others from the stack and taking into account that all the cells are supplied in parallel from a common air admission pipe, a limitation of gas flow rate within that cell is created. Consequently, this constraint will reduce further the water removal speed. This feedback process will generate finally a drastic decrease of the fuel cell stack performance. A new practical solution to this water and gas non-uniformity of distributions problem is to use a sequential purge procedure of several fuel cell groups inside the stack which could guarantee a right management of water.

An experimental setup has been built based on four fuel cell stack. Every fuel cell was connected to a single removal pipe via a solenoid valve. A computer-controlled hardware and software system has been designed and built, in order to generate a given opening-closing sequence for the automatic valve system. 



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