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This blog post includes a quick fuel cell introduction, parts list and design for a 1 cm x 1 cm (active area) fuel cell. This summary was put together mainly for students interested in fuel cell research. Figure 1 presents a summary of the dimensions and basic characteristics of most MEMs fuel cell stacks in the...

Model validation is the most important step in the model building process; however, it is often neglected. Even when the model is validated, it is often not done adequately. It often consists of taking a few experimental data points and plotting these points on the same graph as the model. There are two different types of models: engineering or...

As fuel cell size decreases, the transport phenomena of the fuels and water changes in the fuel cell. In standard fuel cell designs, the movement of fuel and water is governed by volumetric effects, but surface effects become critical as dimensions shrink. A good rule of thumb is that millimeter-scale devices are small enough for...

Small plant components are required to deliver the reactants to the fuel cell with the required conditions. Examples of these components are blowers, compressors, pumps, and humidification systems used to deliver the gases to the fuel cell with the proper temperature, humidity, flow rate and...

There are many steps involved in the manufacturing of a fuel cell stack. One of these steps is the hot pressing of the polymer electrolyte membrane to the two gas diffusion layers (GDLs). This creates a three-layer laminate membrane electrode assembly (MEA). Other steps involve the machining or etching of the...

Mathematical models are a precise description of a problem, process, or technology in the form of mathematics. These models are built to learn more about a technology, system or method. The models explain why the system or process works the way it does and helps to study the effects and...

Selecting the appropriate technique to properly characterize the fuel cell is extremely important because it helps the user to understand why the fuel cell is performing well or poorly. These techniques will help discriminate between activation, ohmic and concentration losses, fuel crossover, and...

The first step in building a fuel cell is to determine the power requirements needed to power the particular device or application. Fuel cells can be used to power anything including phones, laptops, automobiles, buses, houses, businesses and even space shuttles! A single fuel cell can be designed to achieve any current required for a particular application by merely increasing or decreasing the size of the...

Fuel cells produce electricity from reactants such as oxygen and hydrogen -- although other fuels besides hydrogen can be used. The electrochemical reaction produces water and heat as byproducts. Fuel cells are much more efficient than the internal combustion engine because they provide more...

There is an acute need for the development of long-lasting, efficient and portable power sources for further technology improvement in automobiles, commercial electronics devices, military and stationary applications. These systems all require the power source to be energy-efficient, and able to operate for long periods of time without...

In fuel cells, the flow field plates are designed to provide an adequate amount of the reactants (hydrogen and oxygen) to the gas diffusion layer (GDL) and catalyst surface while minimizing pressure drop. The most popular channel configurations for PEM fuel cells are serpentine, parallel, and...

Each component of the fuel cell must be designed properly – otherwise, you run the risk of decreasing fuel cell performance. The bipolar plates are termed “bipolar” because they have flow fields on both sides. This design is very convenient when you have membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) on both sides. In a fuel cell with a...

One of the greatest challenges associated with PEMFCs is the water balance in the fuel cell stack. As the chemical reaction occurs in each cell, water is generated. Depending upon the load and the operating conditions, there is a tendency for the fuel cells to both flood and dry-out. The water content in the...

Fuel cell system designs range from very simple to very complex depending upon the fuel cell application and the system efficiency desired. A fuel cell system can be very efficient with just the fuel cell stack and a few other balance-of-plant components or may require many outside components to optimize...

When you first consider your fuel cell stack design, you will need to calculate several main factors to make sure you are getting the power that is required.  This post will provide you with an overview of the initial considerations for fuel cell design in room-temperature fuel cells.
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