SGRE  Vol.4 No.1 , February 2013
Effect of Terminal Design and Bipolar Plate Material on PEM Fuel Cell Performance
ABSTRACT

Bipolar plates perform as current conductors between cells, provide conduits for reactant gases, facilitate water and thermal management through the cells, and constitute the backbone of a fuel cell stack. Currently, commercial bipolar plates are made of graphite composite because of its relatively low interfacial contact resistance (ICR) and high corrosion resistance. However, graphite composite’s manufacturability, permeability, and durability of shock and vibration are unfavorable in comparison to metals. Therefore, metals have been considered as a replacement material for graphite composite bipolar plates. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of terminal connection design and bipolar plate material on PEM fuel cell overall performance. The study has indicated that single cell performance can be improved by combining terminals into metallic bipolar plates. This terminal design reduces the internal cell resistance and eliminates the need for additional terminal plates. The improved single cell performance by 18% and the increased savings in hydrogen consumption by 15% at the current density of 0.30 A/cm2 was attributed to the robust metal to metal contact between the terminal and the metallic bipolar plates. However, connecting metal terminal directly into graphite bipolar plates did not exhibit similar improvement in the performance of graphite fuel cells because of their brittleness that could have caused damage in the plates and poor contacts.


Cite this paper
Y. Hung, H. Tawfik and D. Mahajan, "Effect of Terminal Design and Bipolar Plate Material on PEM Fuel Cell Performance," Smart Grid and Renewable Energy, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2013, pp. 43-47. doi: 10.4236/sgre.2013.41006.
References
[1]   C. Turan, O. N. Cora and M. Koc, “Effect of Manufacturing Processes on Contact Resistance Characteristics of Metallic Bipolar Plates in PEM Fuel Cells,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 36, No. 19, 2011, pp. 12370-12380. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2011.06.091

[2]   Y. X. Liu and L. Hua, “Fabrication of Metallic Bipolar Plate for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells by Rubber Pad Forming,” Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 195, No. 11, 2010, pp. 3529-3535. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2009.12.046

[3]   F. Barbir, “PEM Fuel Cells,” Elsevier Academic Press, Amsterdam, 2005.

[4]   M. M. Mench, “Fuel Cell Engines,” Wiley, Chichester, 2008. doi:10.1002/9780470209769

[5]   C.-Y. Bai, M.-D. Ger and M.-S. Wu, “Corrosion Behaviors and Contact Resistances of the Low-Carbon Steel Bipolar Plate with a Chromized Coating Containing Carbides and Nitrides,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 34, No. 16, 2009, pp. 6778-6789. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2009.05.103

[6]   S. A. A. El-Enin, O. E. Abdel-Salam, H. El-Abd and A. M. Amin, “New Electroplated Aluminum Bipolar Plate for PEM Fuel Cell,” Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 177, No. 1, 2008, pp. 131-136. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2007.11.042

[7]   D. M. Zhang, L. T. Duan, L. Guo and W.-H. Tuan, “Corrosion Behavior of TiN-Coated Stainless Steel as Bipolar Plate for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 35, No. 8, 2010, pp. 3721-3726. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2010.01.043

[8]   H. Tawfik, Y. Hung and D. Mahajan, “Metal Bipolar Plates for PEM Fuel Cell—A Review,” Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 163, No. 2, 2007, pp. 755-767. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2006.09.088

[9]   R. A. Antunes, M. C. L. Oliveira, G. Ett and V. Ett, “Corrosion of Metal Bipolar Plates for PEM Fuel Cells: A Review,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 35, No. 8, 2010, pp. 3632-3647. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2010.01.059

[10]   H. L. Wang, M. A. Sweikart and J. A. Turner, “Stainless Steel as Bipolar Plate Material for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells,” Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 115, No. 2, 2003, pp. 243-251. doi:10.1016/S0378-7753(03)00023-5

[11]   H. L. Wang and J. A. Turner, “Ferritic Stainless Steels as Bipolar Plate Material for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells,” Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 128, No. 2, 2004, pp. 193-200. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2003.09.075

[12]   L. J. Yang, H. J. Yu, L. J. Jiang, L. Zhu, X. Y. Jian and Z. Wang, “Improved Anticorrosion Properties and Electrical Conductivity of 316L Stainless Steel as Bipolar Plate for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell by Lower Temperature Chromizing Treatment,” Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 195, No. 9, 2010, pp. 2810-2814. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2009.11.018

[13]   Y. Fu, G. Q. Lin, M. Hou, B. Wu, H. K. Li, L. X. Hao, Z. G. Shao and B. L. Yi, “Optimized Cr-Nitride Film on 316L Stainless Steel as Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Bipolar Plate,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2009, pp. 453-458. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2008.09.104

[14]   A. E. Fetohi, R. M. A. Hameed, K. M. El-Khatib and E. R. Souaya, “Ni-P and Ni-Co-P Coated Aluminum Alloy 5251 Substrates as Metallic Bipolar Plates for PEM Fuel Cell Applications,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol. 37, No. 9, 2012, pp. 7677-7688. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2012.01.145

[15]   Y. Hung, K. M. El-Khatib and H. Tawfik, “CorrosionResistant Lightweight Metallic Bipolar Plates for PEM Fuel Cells,” Journal of Applied Electrochemistry, Vol. 35, No. 5, 2005, pp. 445-447. doi:10.1007/s10800-004-8350-6

[16]   Y. Hung, K. M. El-Khatib and H. Tawfik, “Testing and Evaluation of Aluminum Coated Bipolar Plates of PEM Fuel Cells Operating at 70?C,” Journal of Power Sources, Vol. 163, No. 1, 2006, pp. 509-513. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2006.09.013

 
 
Top