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Title: Investigation of mass transport phenomena in polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolysers
Author: Majasan, Jude Olaoluwa
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 6628
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Water Electrolysers (PEMWEs) are considered a promising candidate for large-scale renewable energy storage and green hydrogen production. To improve efficiency and minimize cost for large-scale deployment, operation at high current densities is necessary. However, a consequence of high current density operation is increased mass transport hindrance which degrades performance. Two components are critical to mass transport in PEMWEs, namely the porous transport layer (PTL) and the flow-field plates. Both are expected to transport liquid water, product gases, electrons, and heat with minimal fluidic, thermal and voltage losses. However, the influence of morphology and configuration of both these components and operating conditions on cell performance are not well understood. This research investigates the mass transport phenomena in the PTL and in the flow-field channels in relation to performance in PEMWEs. The influence of flow-field configuration and two-phase flow characteristics in the flow channels on performance was studied by combined high-speed optical imaging and electrochemical characterization at various operating conditions. Results showed a strong correlation of performance with the flow path length and flow regime. Further, a correlative ex-situ X-ray tomography and in-situ electrochemical characterization approach was used to investigate the influence of PTL microstructural parameters such as mean pore diameter, pore size distribution, porosity, tortuosity, and porosity distribution on performance. Results indicated that minimizing contact resistance is most beneficial for improved performance over the range of current density studied. The influence of flow channel depth on performance was investigated by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and a design of experiment (DoE) approach was employed to investigate the relative importance and interaction effects of mass transport factors on cell performance. Results showed the water feed rate and two-way interaction between the flow-field and PTL are most significant. This study provides enhanced understanding of the mass transport characteristics in PEMWEs for optimized design and improved performance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available