Computational Fluid Dynamics Modelling of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Stacks
Nishida, Robert Takeo
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Two computational fluid dynamics models are developed to predict the performance of a solid oxide fuel cell stack, a detailed and a simplified model. In the detailed model, the three dimensional momentum, heat, and species transport equations are coupled with electrochemistry. In the simplified model, the diffusion terms in the transport equations are selectively replaced by rate terms within the core region of the stack. This allows much coarser meshes to be employed at a fraction of the computational cost. Following the mathematical description of the problem, results for single-cell and multi-cell stacks are presented. Comparisons of local current density, temperature, and cell voltage indicate that good agreement is obtained between the detailed and simplified models, verifying the latter as a practical option in stack design. Then, the simplified model is used to determine the effects of utilization on the electrochemical performance and temperature distributions of a 10 cell stack. The results are presented in terms of fluid flow, pressure, species mass fraction, temperature, voltage and current density distributions. The effects of species and flow distributions on electrochemical performance and temperature are then analyzed for a 100 cell stack. The discussion highlights the importance of manifold design on performance and thermal management of large stacks.