Investigation of non-uniform temperature distribution in air-cooled proton exchange membrane fuel cells with multizone temperature measurement

Wei Yu, Liangbo Sun, Wenli Zhu, Yana Li, Houchang Pei*, Lu Xing*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


 Open-cathode air-cooled proton exchange membrane fuel cell stack relies on air fans both for fuel supply and stack cooling. Inappropriate stack thermal management and non-uniform temperature distribution can lead to compromised stack performance, reduced lifespan, and even thermal runaway. Thus, temperature distribution measurement, investigation and analysis are essential for air-cooled PEMFC’s optimized operation and performance. This study uses a multi-zone temperature measurement approach to investigate the impact of air supply method, airflow, and output current on stack temperature distributions. The experimental results reveal that the highest stack temperature occurs at the cathode channel outlet, while the lowest temperature is near the hydrogen inlet. At a 75A load, the maximum temperature difference between the inlet and outlet is 17°C. Increasing fan speed from 4500 to 8800 r/min reduces temperature non-uniformity in cell 10, the most uneven among the 19 cells, by 11.2%. Comparing blowing and suction air supply modes, blowing enhances stack output performance by 2.1%, with smaller temperature differences. Specifically, cell 10 experiences a 7.5°C lower difference at 4500 r/min and a 3.6°C lower difference at 8800 r/min airflow. Under blowing air supply, temperature non-uniformity decreases by 36.95% at 4500 r/min and 29.2% at 8800 r/min.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Green Energy
Early online date29 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Dec 2023

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