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Title: Engineering design and optimisation of a planar polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell through computational, techno-economic and experimental analysis
Author: Daniels, F. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 930X
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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With the rising trend in energy demand and consumption, there is greater drive for innovation in the development of energy technologies that are more efficient and reliable. One of the technologies under consideration is the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), which produces electrical power via the conversion of chemical energy in the form of hydrogen and an oxidant, with a by-product of water. In order for PEMFC stacks to become a serious contender in today’s market for energy production, they must compete with, and surpass, incumbent technologies in all aspects of performance, including safety and cost. One of the obstacles facing the widespread adoption of PEMFCs is the ability to manufacture a long-life stack in a cost-effective manner. Planar PEMFCs are a promising solution to these challenges as the cell configuration can be arranged to reduce the size of the stack and consequent materials needed, thereby minimising cost. This work demonstrates the development and design optimisation of a novel planar PEMFC stack with the focus of using printed circuit boards as an integrated current collector and flow field. An iterative optimisation approach of the short-term developmental analysis of the stack architecture using computational fluid dynamics and experimentation in combination with the long-term projections of the cost analysis of a PEMFC system was used to inform the discovery process of the most advantageous configurations and operating practices. Results indicate that optimisation at a single-cell level can translate into successful scalability of a larger system. Moreover, long-term analysis suggests that larger stacks of 10 kW and 80 kW based on this technology can achieve volumetric power densities in excess of 2.5 kW l-1 with costs lower than that of the US Department of Energy’s 2020 targets of 40 $ kW-1 and 450 $ kW-1 for automotive and residential CHP units respectively.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available