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Multiscale modeling of single-phase multicomponent transport in the cathode gas diffusion layer of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-08-21, 14:23 authored by Pratap Rama, Yu Liu, Rui Chen, Hossein Ostadi, Kyle Jiang, Yuan Gao, Xiaoxian Zhang, Rosemary Fisher, Michael Jeschke
This research reports a feasibility study into multiscale polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) modeling through the simulation of macroscopic flow in the multilayered cell via one-dimensional (1D) electrochemical modeling, and the simulation of microscopic flow in the cathode gas diffusion layer (GDL) via three-dimensional (3D) single-phase multicomponent lattice Boltzmann (SPMC-LB) modeling. The heterogeneous porous geometry of the carbon-paper GDL is digitally reconstructed for the SPMC-LB model using X-ray computer microtomography. Boundary conditions at the channel and catalyst layer interfaces for the SPMC-LB simulations such as specie partial pressures and through-plane flowrates are determined using the validated 1D electrochemical model, which is based on the general transport equation (GTE) and volume-averaged structural properties of the GDL. The calculated pressure profiles from the two models are cross-validated to verify the SPMC-LB technique. The simulations reveal a maximum difference of 2.4% between the thickness-averaged pressures calculated by the two techniques, which is attributable to the actual heterogeneity of the porous GDL structure.


This research was supported by the UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB Project No. TP/6/S/K3032H). We acknowledge industrial partners AVL List GmbH, Intelligent Energy Ltd., Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells Ltd., Saati Group Inc., and Technical Fibre Products Ltd. for their support of this work.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Published in





3130 - 3143 (14)


RAMA, P. ... et al, 2010. Multiscale modeling of single-phase multicomponent transport in the cathode gas diffusion layer of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell. Energy and Fuels, 24 (5), pp. 3130 - 3143.


© American Chemical Society


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Energy and Fuels, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ef100190c




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