Heat exchangers are used in proton exchange membrane fuel cell systems (PEMFCs) for stack cooling, intercooling, water condensation and fuel reforming. Especially, the heat exchanger for the intercooling before the humidifier is investigated in this paper. It is found that, at high pressure or high mass flow rate, the need to cool the air (oxidant) is large. The heat exchanger uses coolant water from the stack cooling system or ambient air as the cold stream. With water-cooling, the volume of the heat exchanger will be small. However, difficulties exist because the small available temperature difference. Air-cooling can be used over a wide operating range but the heat exchanger volume will be large.

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