Mathematical Modelling of Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Hydrogen Fuel Cells can efficiently convert Hydrogen fuel and air to electrical power with zero emissions. This talk concerns Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC). A general overview of how these devices are constructed and how they work is given. PEMFCs are fundamentally multi-scale. The central component of a PEMFC (the Membrane Electrode Assembly or MEA) has micron scale. The MEA is made of composite layers which must facilitate selective multiphase transport of reactants to and products from catalyst sites. The need for composite materials with these selective transport properties is a recurring theme in energy conversion and storage applications. MEAs are built into unit cells which are then arranged in stacks. The micro-components have behaviour determined by their structure on the nano-scale. Modelling stack level behaviour from component models and components from their nano-scale structure are both of interest and are illustrated with examples.

Brian Wetton, University of British Columbia, Canada

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