Enhancing heat dissipation and mass transfer of oxygen gas flow channel in a proton exchange membrane fuel cell using multiobjective topology optimization

Zelin Wang, Hui Wang, Heye Xiao, Junqiang Bai, Xiaodong Zhao, Shifeng Wang

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To enhance the heat dissipation and mass transfer from a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) stack, a multi-objective topology optimization model considering structural deformation, heat transfer, mass diffusion, and gas flow process is proposed herein. The average molar concentration of oxygen and average temperature in the cathode catalyst layer (CL) are considered as the optimization objectives, and the mechanical, mass transfer, and gas flow properties are treated as constraints. The results reveal that compared with a straight gas channel, the topology-optimized configuration leads to an improvement in oxygen molar concentration by 10.36% and reduction in average temperature by 2.26 K. A higher power-dissipation constraint leads to a more complex three-dimensional channel structure with more branches. A larger structural displacement constraint results in a wider and flatter flow channel topology. The average oxygen molar concentration of topologically optimized configurations increases ranging from 5.18 to 14.96%, and the average temperature in the CL decreases about 2.2 K, compared with that of straight gas channel configurations, when the velocity at inlet varies from 0.05 to 0.3 m/s. These findings can aid in the design of PEMFCs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Early online date18 May 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 18 May 2023


  • proton exchange membrane fuel cell
  • 3D topology optimization
  • oxygen molar concentration
  • average temperature

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