Experimental evaluation into novel, low cost, modular PEMFC stack
The Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC), despite being regarded as an ideal replacement to the internal combustion engine, is still not an economically attractive pri-mover due to a number of key challenges that have yet to be fully resolved; some of which include degradation to cell components resulting in inadequate lifetimes, specialised and costly manufacturing processes and poor gravimetric/volumetric energy densities. This paper presents a novel stack concept which removes the conventional bi polar plate (BPP), a component that is responsible for up to 80% of total stack weight and 90+% of stack volume in some designs. The removal of said component not only improves the volumetric and gravimetric energy density of the PEMFC stack but drastically reduces the cost of the stack by removing all costly manufacturing processes associated with PEMFC component machining while the functionality of the traditional BPP is still retained by the unique stack design. The stack architecture is first presented and then the characterisation of the PEMFC is shown over a wide range of operating scenarios. The experimental studies suggest that the performance of the new design is comparable to that of traditional stacks but at significantly less cost price.