A high-pressure water electrolysis system has been investigated numerically and experimentally. The advanced CFD model of two-phase flow, which calculated the 3D distributions of pressure, gas and liquid velocities and gas and liquid volume fractions, has been developed to account for all the major components in the system, and appropriate constitutive equations for two-phase flow parameters were selected for various parts of the system, such as the cell stack, riser, separator and downcomer. Heat transfer between the two phases, and between the gas-liquid mixture and cooling coils located in the gas-liquid separator was also accounted for. The model was validated using comparisons of predicted liquid flow rate with the liquid flow rate measured in the downcomer, where a single-phase liquid flow existed. The effects of pressure, current density, number of cells, and bubble size were investigated with the numerical model. The numerical predictions matched the general trends obtained from the experimental results with regard to the effects of pressure and current density on the liquid flow rate. The validated CFD model is being used as a cell design tool at Hydrogenics Corporation.

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