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Title: Fuel cell stack with passive air supply

Abstract

A fuel cell stack has a plurality of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) where each PEFC includes a rectangular membrane electrode assembly (MEA) having a fuel flow field along a first axis and an air flow field along a second axis perpendicular to the first axis, where the fuel flow field is long relative to the air flow field. A cathode air flow field in each PEFC has air flow channels for air flow parallel to the second axis and that directly open to atmospheric air for air diffusion within the channels into contact with the MEA.

Inventors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
The Regents of the University of California, Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1175626
Patent Number(s):
6,986,961
Application Number:
10/119,892
Assignee:
The Regents of the University of California (Los Alamos, NM) OSTI
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-36
Resource Type:
Patent
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
25 ENERGY STORAGE

Citation Formats

Ren, Xiaoming, and Gottesfeld, Shimshon. Fuel cell stack with passive air supply. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
Ren, Xiaoming, & Gottesfeld, Shimshon. Fuel cell stack with passive air supply. United States.
Ren, Xiaoming, and Gottesfeld, Shimshon. Tue . "Fuel cell stack with passive air supply". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1175626.
@article{osti_1175626,
title = {Fuel cell stack with passive air supply},
author = {Ren, Xiaoming and Gottesfeld, Shimshon},
abstractNote = {A fuel cell stack has a plurality of polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs) where each PEFC includes a rectangular membrane electrode assembly (MEA) having a fuel flow field along a first axis and an air flow field along a second axis perpendicular to the first axis, where the fuel flow field is long relative to the air flow field. A cathode air flow field in each PEFC has air flow channels for air flow parallel to the second axis and that directly open to atmospheric air for air diffusion within the channels into contact with the MEA.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Jan 17 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Tue Jan 17 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

Patent:

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  • A stack of polymer electrolyte fuel cells is formed from a plurality of unit cells where each unit cell includes fuel cell components defining a periphery and distributed along a common axis, where the fuel cell components include a polymer electrolyte membrane, an anode and a cathode contacting opposite sides of the membrane, and fuel and oxygen flow fields contacting the anode and the cathode, respectively, wherein the components define an annular region therethrough along the axis. A fuel distribution manifold within the annular region is connected to deliver fuel to the fuel flow field in each of the unitmore » cells. In a particular embodiment, a single bolt through the annular region clamps the unit cells together. In another embodiment, separator plates between individual unit cells have an extended radial dimension to function as cooling fins for maintaining the operating temperature of the fuel cell stack.« less
  • A stack of polymer electrolyte fuel cells is formed from a plurality of unit cells where each unit cell includes fuel cell components defining a periphery and distributed along a common axis, where the fuel cell components include a polymer electrolyte membrane, an anode and a cathode contacting opposite sides of the membrane, and fuel and oxygen flow fields contacting the anode and the cathode, respectively, wherein the components define an annular region therethrough along the axis. A fuel distribution manifold within the annular region is connected to deliver fuel to the fuel flow field in each of the unitmore » cells. The fuel distribution manifold is formed from a hydrophilic-like material to redistribute water produced by fuel and oxygen reacting at the cathode. In a particular embodiment, a single bolt through the annular region clamps the unit cells together. In another embodiment, separator plates between individual unit cells have an extended radial dimension to function as cooling fins for maintaining the operating temperature of the fuel cell stack.« less
  • In a fuel cell power plant, a system for supplying air to an oxygen side of the cells in the plant is described comprising: (a) conduit means for feeding air to the oxygen side of the plant; (b) a constant speed blower connected to the conduit means for blowing an air stream into the conduit means at a constant velocity; (c) a motorized control valve in the conduit means between the blower and the oxygen side, the control valve being adjustable to vary the amount of air flowing to the oxygen side; (d) branch conduit means opening into the conduitmore » means for providing an air flow path from the blower to the oxygen side which bypasses the control valve; (e) fast acting valve means in the branch conduit means, the fast acting valve means being relatively instantly transformable from a closed condition to an open condition and return, and the fast acting valve means being normally in the closed condition; (f) flow meter means in the conduit means for measuring amounts of oxygen flowing from the control valve from the control valve and the fast acting valve means to the oxygen side; (g) current monitoring means connected to a loaf line from the power plant for monitoring load changes imposed upon the cells in the power plant; and (h) microprocessor means for controlling operation of the system, the microprocessor means being operably connected to the current monitoring means, to the flow meter means, to the fast acting valve means and to the control valve.« less
  • A high temperature solid oxide fuel cell generator produces electrical power from oxidation of hydrocarbon fuel gases such as natural gas, or conditioned fuel gases, such as carbon monoxide or hydrogen, with oxidant gases, such as air or oxygen. This electrochemical reaction occurs in a plurality of electrically connected solid oxide fuel cells bundled and arrayed in a unitary modular fuel cell stack disposed in a compartment in the generator container. The use of a unitary modular fuel cell stack in a generator is similar in concept to that of a removable battery. The fuel cell stack is provided inmore » a pre-assembled self-supporting configuration where the fuel cells are mounted to a common structural base having surrounding side walls defining a chamber. Associated generator equipment may also be mounted to the fuel cell stack configuration to be integral therewith, such as a fuel and oxidant supply and distribution systems, fuel reformation systems, fuel cell support systems, combustion, exhaust and spent fuel recirculation systems, and the like. The pre-assembled self-supporting fuel cell stack arrangement allows for easier assembly, installation, maintenance, better structural support and longer life of the fuel cells contained in the fuel cell stack. 8 figs.« less
  • A high temperature solid oxide fuel cell generator produces electrical power from oxidation of hydrocarbon fuel gases such as natural gas, or conditioned fuel gases, such as carbon monoxide or hydrogen, with oxidant gases, such as air or oxygen. This electrochemical reaction occurs in a plurality of electrically connected solid oxide fuel cells bundled and arrayed in a unitary modular fuel cell stack disposed in a compartment in the generator container. The use of a unitary modular fuel cell stack in a generator is similar in concept to that of a removable battery. The fuel cell stack is provided inmore » a pre-assembled self-supporting configuration where the fuel cells are mounted to a common structural base having surrounding side walls defining a chamber. Associated generator equipment may also be mounted to the fuel cell stack configuration to be integral therewith, such as a fuel and oxidant supply and distribution systems, fuel reformation systems, fuel cell support systems, combustion, exhaust and spent fuel recirculation systems, and the like. The pre-assembled self-supporting fuel cell stack arrangement allows for easier assembly, installation, maintenance, better structural support and longer life of the fuel cells contained in the fuel cell stack.« less