Simulation on water transportation in gas diffusion layer of a PEM fuel cell: Influence of non-uniform PTFE distribution

Shikun Zhou, Gongnan Xie, Haibao Hu, Meng Ni

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are promising clean power sources with high energy conversion efficiency, fast startup, and no pollutant emission. The generated water in the cathode can cause water flooding of the catalyst layer (CL), which in turn can significantly decrease the fuel cell performance. To address this significant issue of PEMFC, a new gas diffusion layer (GDL) with non-uniform distribution of PTFE is proposed for water removal from the CL. The feasibility of this new GDL design is numerically evaluated by a Lattice-Boltzmann Method (LBM)-based two-phase flow model. The porous structure of the new GDL design is numerically reconstructed, followed by LBM simulations of the water transport in GDL. Three types of different wetting conditions are considered. It is found that liquid water transported 7.87% more with a single row of wetted solids and 13.36% more with two rows of wetted solids. The results clearly demonstrate that the liquid water can be effectively removed from the GDL by proper arrangement of hydrophilic solids in the GDL.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Dec 2022


  • Gas diffusion layer
  • Lattice Boltzmann method
  • Proton exchange membrane fuel cell
  • Two-phase flow
  • Water transportation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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