Open Pore Cellular Foam (OPCF) has received increased attention for use in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells as a flow plate due to some advantages offered by the material, including better gas flow, lower pressure drop and low electrical resistance. In the present study, a novel design for an air-breathing PEM (ABPEM) fuel cell, which allows air convection from the surrounding atmosphere, using OPCF as a flow distributor has been developed. The developed fuel cell has been compared with one that uses a normal serpentine flow plate, demonstrating better performance. A comparative analysis of the performance of an ABPEM and pressurised air PEM (PAPEM) fuel cell is conducted and poor water management behaviour was observed for the ABPEM design. Thereafter, a PTFE coating has been applied to the OPCF with contact angle and electrochemical polarisation tests conducted to assess the capability of the coating to enhance the hydrophobicity and corrosion protection of metallic OPCF in the PEM fuel cell environment. The results showed that the ABPEM fuel cell with PTFE coated OPCF had a better performance than that with uncoated OPCF. Finally, OPCF was employed to build an ABPEM fuel cell stack where the performance, advantages and limitations of this stack are discussed in this paper.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Enterprise Ireland for funding this work under grant CF20133023.
- Flow plate
- Fuel cell
- Open Pore Cellular Foam