Two cases of heat transfer processes for a general polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) stack in a sub-freezing environment are studied in this paper: cooling-down and heating-up. We investigate the time consumption problem for both of these two cases in order to find the way to normally restart fuel cell stack without regard to electrochemical reaction. We consider the action of heat transfer in lieu of generated chemical energy to PEFC in sub-freezing environment by means of heat insulator. In the numerical simulation, we define a combined finite element/upwind finite volume discretization to approximate the heat transport equation for different cases of heat transport process, and obtain the stable and reasonable numerical solutions. These results correspondingly provide explicit ways to preserve heat in PEFC stack in the sub-freezing environment.

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