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Title: Elucidating Performance Limitations in Alkaline-Exchange- Membrane Fuel Cells

Water management is a serious concern for alkaline-exchange-membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs) because water is a reactant in the alkaline oxygen-reduction reaction and hydroxide conduction in alkaline-exchange membranes is highly hydration dependent. Here in this article, we develop and use a multiphysics, multiphase model to explore water management in AEMFCs. We demonstrate that the low performance is mostly caused by extremely non-uniform distribution of water in the ionomer phase. A sensitivity analysis of design parameters including humidification strategies, membrane properties, and water transport resistance was undertaken to explore possible optimization strategies. Furthermore, the strategy and issues of reducing bicarbonate/carbonate buildup in the membrane-electrode assembly with CO 2 from air is demonstrated based on the model prediction. Overall, mathematical modeling is used to explore trends and strategies to overcome performance bottlenecks and help enable AEMFC commercialization.
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Energy Conversion Group, Energy Technology Area
  2. Tufts Univ., Medford, MA (United States). Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of the Electrochemical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 164; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651
The Electrochemical Society
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
25 ENERGY STORAGE; AEMFC; Alkaline; carbon dioxide; Fuel Cell; hydroxide; Modeling water management
OSTI Identifier: