Energy efficiency improvements by investigating the water flooding management on proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC)

O.s. Ijaodola, Zaki El- Hassan, E. Ogungbemi, F.n. Khatib, Tabbi Wilberforce, James Thompson, A.g. Olabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a broad study of research work associated with the effect of water flooding and management in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC) which operates at relatively low temperatures at conditions that could allow the accumulation of water that degrade cell performance.

Recent studies confirm the importance of proper water balance during cell operation to avoid both dehydration and flooding. Condition to ensure the PEM remains hydrated while excessive water condensation is prevented are identified and analysed.

The work review current literature and examines the different mechanisms of water transport in PEMFCs and their relative importance and impact on cell operation. The work analyse the effect of water accumulation at both the anode and the cathode regions and discusses the impact on cell efficiency of each.

This work reviews recent development in this field and examines the approaches used such as improved flow field designs, improved membrane chemical formulation to increase hydrophilicity, manipulation of operating pressure, optimisation of operating temperature, the level of humidification, optimisation of gas flow rate and mechanical modification of the membrane structure among other techniques.

The work examines recent advances in the techniques for non-intrusive in-situ water detection, monitoring and characterisation and compares their effectiveness.

The work concludes by a critical review of recent studies that examined different strategies that could prevent water flooding and promote proper water management in PEM fuel cells. This includes water management control strategies designed to improve the voltage and current density at specific operating conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-267
Number of pages22
Early online date23 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Anode region
  • Cathode region
  • Membrane
  • Open pore metal foam
  • PEM fuel cells
  • Serpentine flow field channels
  • Water flooding
  • Water management


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