Heat Pipe Assisted Thermal Management of an HT PEMFC Stack

E. Firat[1], G. Bandlamudi[1], M. Crisogianni[1], P. Beckhaus[1], A. Heinzel[1]
[1]Centre for Fuel Cell Technology (ZBT), Duisburg,NRW, Germany
Published in 2012

Heat management is crucial for the satisfactory operation of HT-PEM (High temperature polymer-electrolyte-membrane) fuel cells. Current work investigates the use of heat pipes in a HT PEMFC stack consisting of 24 cells, each with an active area of 300 cm^2. Heat pipes are known to be thermal superconductors operating on the principles of high convective heat transfer and phase transition. However, adapting them in fuel cell stacks in order to maintain a desired temperature level comes with challenges. Commercially available sinter type heat pipes were selected for these investigations. COMSOL Multiphysics based simulations were performed to analyze temperature profiles in transient mode during heating up of a 1 kW HT-PEMFC stack from room temperature to 160 °C as well as cooling down from 160°C to room temperature. Calculations are performed with COMSOL Multiphysics by using an equivalent model derived for a single heat pipe.