In this study, numerical simulations were performed to find the current-voltage distribution for a laminar flow-based membraneless fuel cell (LFFC). The system uses formic acid and oxygen as the fuel and oxidant, respectively, and has a Y-shaped geometry with two separate inlets that merge into a single channel. The main objective of this work is to analyze the impact of geometry and operating conditions on the performance of these devices. This is done by proposing a novel wavy-channel-based geometry for the side walls, along with planar top and bottom walls, and comparing the behavior of the corresponding system to that of LFFCs based on straight-channel walls. Special attention is placed on the effect of both the amplitude of the sinusoid and its wavelength on the performance of the device. The effect of flow rates — in the range of [200, 350] μL/min — is also studied. The mathematical model is formulated by considering the Navier-Stokes equations along with Butler-Volmer and Fick’s law. For each fuel-cell configuration, the governing equations are discretized and solved using finite elements, and the solutions given in terms of the polarization curves. The model was first verified using published numerical data for a straight-channel-based LFFC. The simulations show that the performance achieved by the device, based on the proposed wavy channel geometry, is slightly better than that of the LFFC with straight channel walls. On the other hand, higher flowrates significantly improve the power density of the device. Although the current mathematical model may be useful in a variety of applications, improvements on it are currently underway to account for the effects of potential distributions on ions within the flow channel, and results from it will be reported in the future.
Geometrical Effects of Channel Configuration on the Performance of Membraneless Fuel Cells
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Gomez, H, Tohid, U, & Pacheco-Vega, A. "Geometrical Effects of Channel Configuration on the Performance of Membraneless Fuel Cells." Proceedings of the ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Volume 6: Energy. Tampa, Florida, USA. November 3–9, 2017. V006T08A068. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2017-72235
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