Numerical study of high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cell (HT-PEMFC) with a focus on rib design

Lingchao Xia, Qidong Xu, Qijiao He, Meng Ni, Meng Seng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The rib size is a critical engineering design parameter for high temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cell (HT-PEMFC) stack development, yet it hasn't been studied for HT-PEMFC. A three-dimensional, non-isothermal model was developed in this work to investigate the effect of channel to rib width ratios (CRWR) on the performance of HT-PEMFC. The reaction heat caused by entropy change was divided into cathodic half-reaction heat and anodic half-reaction heat. The results show that the ratio value significantly influence the gas diffusion, electron conduction and the distribution of current density in the porous electrodes. Increasing this ratio facilitates gas transport in the porous electrode but causes higher ohmic loss due to longer distance for electron conduction. As a result, an optimal ratio of about 1 is observed, which results in a peak power density of 0.428 W/cm2. High current density is observed under the channel with a small ratio value while a high ratio value would cause high current density to appear under the rib, signifying the rib size effect on electrochemical behavior of HT-PEMFC. Apart from the electrical power output, the CRWR value also greatly influences the fluid flow and temperature distribution inside the cell, which would influence the long-term stability of HT-PEMFC. In the subsequent studies, efforts will be made to develop new stack configurations with more uniform gas distribution, short electron conduction path and low temperature gradient.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Channel to rib width ratio
  • Reactants distribution
  • Thermal behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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