Fuel cell efficiency is determined by many factors, including operational parameters such as electrochemical kinetics, cell operating temperature, mass transport, flow rates and other physical components in the cell stack like the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) as well as the bipolar plate (BP). The BP accounts for almost 70% of the mass of the stack and 30% of the overall price of the cell stack on the fuel cell market. The bipolar plate geometry design serves as the medium of entry of the reactive gases into the fuel cell and also functions as a platform for easy dissemination of the reactive substance onto the active surface of the cell stack. Its crucial role in the stack determines water management for the PEM fuel cell, thermal and electrical conductivity, mass transport and current density distribution. This research therefore aims to make a critical assessment of existing bipolar plate geometry design with respect to the maximum functionality of fuel cell (advantages and disadvantages of each design considered). The work thoroughly discusses some parameters that define an effective bipolar plate geometry design which is able to enhance the functionality of a cell stack. Furthermore, the work will serve as a guide to the fuel cell research community in the selection of a suitable geometry design for any fuel cell operating at varying conditions.
- Bipolar plate
- Channel length
- Current density
- Mass transport
- Proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC)