Numerical and Experimental Study of Three-Dimensional Fluid Flow in the Bipolar Plate of a PEM Electrolysis Cell

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The bipolar plate is one of the key components in proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis cell stacks for hydrogen production. Bipolar plates of electrolysis cells must be properly designed to distribute reactant (water) evenly, and efficient PEM electrolysis cell stacks will require optimized bipolar plates. Numerical simulations and experimental measurements of three-dimensional water flow were performed for the purpose of examining pressure and velocity distributions in the bipolar plate of a PEM electrolysis cell. For the studied flow range, the computed pressure drops agree very favorably with the measurements. Results show that pressure decreases from the inlet tube to the exit tube along the diagonal direction. Both velocity and temperature distributions are very non-uniform in the channels. A minimum of the peak values of mainstream velocity component in the channels develops in the center of the test plate. The maximum of these peak values appears in the channel near the exit tube. For the studied flow levels, these lines along which the mainstream velocity component is a peak in the channel almost overlay with each other, except that minor difference can be noticed in the channel near the exit tube.


Bipolar plate; Fluid dynamics; Hydrogen as fuel; Hydrogen production; Proton exchange membrane (PEM); Proton exchange membrane fuel cells; Water – Electrolysis


Energy Systems | Mechanical Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy


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