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Multi-variable optimisation of PEMFC cathodes based on surrogate modelling

Lookup NU author(s): Lei Xing, Dr Xueguan Song, Emeritus Professor Keith Scott, Professor Volker Pickert, Dr Wenping Cao


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A two-dimensional, steady state, isothermal agglomerate model for cathode catalyst layer design is presented. The design parameters, platinum loading, platinum mass ratio, electrolyte volume fraction, thickness of catalyst layer and agglomerate radius, are optimised by a multiple surrogate model and their sensitivities are analysed by a Monte Carlo method based approach. Two optimisation strategies, maximising the current density at a fix cell voltage and during a specific range, are implemented for the optima prediction. The results show that the optimal catalyst composition depends on operating cell voltages. At high current densities, the performance is improved by reducing electrolyte volume fraction to 7.0% and increasing catalyst layer porosity to 52.9%. At low current densities, performance is improved by increasing electrolyte volume fraction to 50.0% and decreasing catalyst layer porosity to 12.0%. High platinum loading and small agglomerate radius improve current density at all cell voltages. The improvement in fuel cell performance is analysed in terms of the electrolyte coating thickness, agglomerate specific area, conductivity, over-potential, volumetric current density and oxygen mole fraction within the cathode catalyst layer. The optimisation results are also validated by the agglomerate model at different cell voltages to confirm the effectiveness of the proposed methodologies. Copyright (C) 2013, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pickert V; Scott K; Xing L; Cao WP; Song XG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Hydrogen Energy

Year: 2013

Volume: 38

Issue: 33

Pages: 14295-14313

Print publication date: 21/09/2013

ISSN (print): 0360-3199

ISSN (electronic): 1879-3487

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2013.08.104


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Funder referenceFunder name
G030995EPSRC Supergen Fuel Cell Consortium award