Ethanol crossover and direct ethanol PEM fuel cell performance modeling and experimental validation
In the present work, a one-dimension, steady-state and single phase model is developed with the purpose of describing the mass transport within a PtRu/Nafion (R)-115/Pt membrane-electrode assembly and the performance of a direct ethanol proton exchange membrane fuel cell (DE-PEMFC). The effect of the most important cell operating parameters on the ethanol crossover rate and the fuel cell performance is investigated. According to the results, in the case of low current density values and high concentrations of ethanol aqueous solutions, ethanol crossover could pose serious problems to the DEFC operation. Moreover, it was pointed out that the ethanol crossover rate dependence on the ethanol feed concentration is an almost linear function presenting a maximum at about C-F,(EtOH) = 10.0 M. A further increase of the ethanol feed concentration leads to a steep decrease of ethanol crossover rate. This behavior could be attributed to the membrane swelling which is responsible for the membrane volume fraction decrement. It was also found that by the aid of the same model the performance of a direct ethanol PEM fuel cell over three different anode catalysts can be predicted. A relatively good agreement between theory and experimental results related to both ethanol crossover rates and direct ethanol fuel cell performance was found. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.