Effects of cathode gas channel design on air-cooled proton exchange membrane fuel cell performance

Ming Peng, Li Chen*, Kunying Gong, Wen quan Tao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In the study, the impact of cathode gas channel (CGC) structure on the operation of air-cooled PEMFCs is investigated by a multiphase nonisothermal model. First, the influences of tapered channel configuration on the distribution of key variable distributions are studied. The distributions of these variables are found to be coupled with the reactive transport process within the catalyst layer (CL). The variation of local current density is found to be positively correlated with the dissolved water content. Although the tapered channel design can improve the current density, the weight of the bipolar plates (BPs) will be inevitably increased. Finally, the trapezoidal channel design is proposed aiming at improving the performance without increase of fuel cell weight. Several performance indexes are employed to comprehensively evaluate the different CGC designs, and the results demonstrate that the inverted trapezoidal CGC design, with which good thermal and water management are achieved, presents the best performance among the different CGC designs studied, leading to 18.9 % increase of the mass power density and 18.6 % increase of volume power density compared with the base case design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121614
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Air-cooled PEMFCs
  • Dissolved water in ionomer
  • Gas channel design
  • Mass power density
  • Water and thermal management


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