Transport Phenomena in Fuel Cells
Fuel cell operation, similar to other electrochemical systems, is governed by the rate of the electrochemical reactions; however in fuel cells, the electrochemical reaction rate is largely controlled by the transport of the reactants and the products to and from the reaction sites, in addition to the activation kinetics. In this talk, a general overview of transport phenomena in fuel cells will be provided, which covers multi-phase transport of reactant species as well as charged particles. Then, specific implications of transport phenomena on commercialization of polymer electrolyte fuel cells will be discussed, and recent improvements in the field will be summarized. Specifically, improvements in “water management” have been instrumental in developing freeze-start capability and enhanced durability in automotive fuel cells, and are leading the path to commercialization. Finally, the role of transport phenomena in the ultimate dream of direct electrochemical oxidation of coal will also be outlined. In electrochemical oxidation of coal, coal is not burned rather oxidized electrochemically, which significantly reduces the harmful byproducts of coal combustion.
Dr. Ugur Pasaogullari has been an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Connecticut since 2005. He holds PhD and MS degrees from Penn State University (2005, 2003) and a BS degree from Middle East Technical University (1999), all in Mechanical Engineering. His areas of research spans transport phenomena in electrochemical energy systems, focusing mostly on fuel cell applications. Specifically, his group has been involved in high fidelity numerical modeling of transport phenomena in polymer electrolyte fuel cells, supported by experimental investigations. Dr. Pasaogullari is an 2008 NSF CAREER award winner, and is a member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Electrochemical Society.