3D non-isothermal dynamic simulation of high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cell in the start-up process

Jun Zhang, Caizhi Zhang, Dong Hao, Meng Ni, Shulong Huang, Deman Liu, Yifeng Zheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


High temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cell (HT-PEMFC) with phosphoric acid doped polybenzimidazole (PBI) electrolyte shows multiple advantages over conventional PEMFC working at below 373 K, such as faster electrochemical kinetics, simpler water management, higher carbon monoxide tolerance. However, starting HT-PEMFC from room temperature to the optimal operating temperature range (433.15 K–453.15 K) is still a serious challenge. In present work, the start-up strategy is proposed and evaluated and a three-dimensional non-isothermal dynamic model is developed to investigate start-up time and temperature distribution during the start-up process. The HT-PEMFC is preheated by gas to 393.15 K, followed by discharging a current from the cell for electrochemical heat generation. Firstly, different current loads are applied when the average temperature of membrane reaches 393.15 K. Then, the start-up time and temperature distribution of co-flow and counter-flow are compared at different current loads. Finally, the effect of inlet velocity and temperature on the start-up process are explored in the case of counter-flow. Numerical results clearly show that applied current load is necessary to reduce start-up time and just 0.1 A/cm2 current load can reduce startup time by 45%. It is also found that co-flow takes 18.8% less time than counter-flow to heat membrane temperature to 393.15 K, but the maximum temperature difference of membrane is 39% higher than the counter-flow. Increasing the inlet gas flow velocity and temperature can shorten the start-up time but increases the temperature difference of the membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2577-2593
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2021


  • Counter-flow
  • Start-up process
  • Temperature distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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