An Investigation of Low Temperature Direct Propane Fuel Cells

dc.contributor.authorParackal, Bhavana
dc.description.abstractThis research is directed toward the investigation of a low temperature direct propane fuel cell (DPFC). Modeling included a parametric study of a direct propane fuel cell using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), specifically FreeFem++ software. Polarization curves predicted by the CFD model were used to understand fuel cell performance. The predictions obtained from the computational fluid dynamics mathematical model for the fuel cell were compared with experimental results. The computational work identified some critical parameters (exchange current density, pressure, temperature) for improving the overall performance of the fuel cell. The model predictions clearly highlighted the role of catalysts in significantly enhancing the overall performance of a DPFC. Experiments were performed using commercial Nafion-Pt based membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) to obtain a basis for comparison. It is the first report in the literature that a Pt-Ru (Platinum-Ruthenium) MEA was used in the investigation of a DPFC. Also, it was the first study that fed liquid water continuously to a DPFC by using interdigitated flow field (IDFF) at the anode to humidify the dry propane feed gas. During the experiments oscillations were observed at very low current densities i.e. in nA/cm2, which is a rare case and not reported in the literature to date. This observation has raised serious concerns about the existence of absolute open-circuit cell potential difference for a DPFC. The cycling behaviour observed with DPFC indicated the presence of a continuous degradation-regeneration process of the catalyst surface near open-circuit potential. The experimental work further evaluated the performance of fuel cell by measurement of polarization curves.
dc.publisherUniversité d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa
dc.subjectDirect Propane Fuel Cell
dc.subjectCFD Modeling Parametric Study
dc.subjectFinite element numerical method
dc.subjectNafion MEA
dc.subjectBubble Humidifier
dc.subjectLiquid water interdigitated flow field
dc.subjectPin-type flow field
dc.subjectAnode humidification
dc.titleAn Investigation of Low Temperature Direct Propane Fuel Cells
dc.contributor.supervisorBourgault, Yves
dc.contributor.supervisorTernan, Martenénie / Engineering
uottawa.departmentGénie chimique et biologique / Chemical and Biological Engineering
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -