Numerical Modeling of an Innovative Bipolar Plate Design Based on the Leaf Venation Patterns for PEM Fuel Cells


1 Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto

2 Energy Engineering Department, Sharif University of Technology


Flow channel design on bipolar plates has a direct effect on Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell performance. It has been found out that the flow field design has a deterministic role on the mass transport and water management, and therefore on the achieved power in PEM Fuel cells. This study concentrates on improvements in the fuel cell performance through optimization of channel dimensions and configuration. To find an optimized state, a two dimensional numerical model of the flow distribution based on the Navier-Stokes equations and by use of an individual computer code is presented. The simulated results showed a very good agreement with the experimental results obtained in previous works. Finally, numerical simulation has been conducted to investigate the advantages of a newly proposed pattern with inspiration from plant leaves. The main design criteria are focused on less pressure drop and more uniform pressure and velocity distributions throughout the flow channels.  It was found that both velocity and pressure fields are much more homogeneous in the new channel design; therefore, it is expected to produce a more uniform dispersal of reactants over the GDL and the catalyst layer, which in turn causes the efficiency to enhance.