Fuel cells are energy sources with excellent economical
and environmental potentials that are able to operate in a wide range of stationary, portable and automotive applications. Amongst the several different types of fuel cells that are currently the focus of interest, it is the polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) that is one of the leading candidates for large-scale implementation and commercialisation; however, reductions in cost and improvements in both performance and reliability
remain the key obstacles. Much depends principally on the
design and properties of components in the heart of the fuel
cell, such as the bipolar plates, porous backing, the catalytic layer and the membrane, and the stack. In order to be able to design and construct as cheap, efficient and reliable a PEFC as possible, it is necessary to be able to understand qualitatively and predict quantitatively how it functions; to do this, it is often argued that experimental methods must be complemented by theoretical modelling.
This talk will present some of the approaches in progress at
the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, to tightly
combine experimental methods, theoretical electrochemistry,
fluid dynamics, mathematical modelling and numerical
simulation to enhance our knowledge of fuel cell operation.