Centre for Computational Fluid Dynamics

FACULTY OF ENGINEERING

 

The CFD web site is no longer maintained. Information may be out of date and links may be broken.

 

 
 
 
 
 
Voltage-current density curve
Voltage-current density curve
A micrograph of a gas diffusion layer
A micrograph of a gas diffusion layer
A domain of a gas diffusion layer
A domain of a gas diffusion layer
The concentration of oxygen in the simulated domain
The concentration of oxygen in the simulated domain
 
 
 
 
Diagram2_Meshing.bmp
Meshed model
Diagram_Flow-field.JPG
Flow-field
geometry3_mesh5.5c.jpg
Velocity Profile
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ENABLING TECHNOLOGY (FUEL CELLS)


(Funding source and collaborators: EU, EPSRC, DH )

 

Mohamed Ismail CFD PhD Researcher

Mohammed Ismail pmmsai@leeds.ac.uk

Tel +44 (0) 113 343 3824

Research Interests: CFD Modelling of Transport Phenomena in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells
Supervisor: Mohamed Pourkashanian

 

 

Owing to various voltage losses when a current is drawn, the actual voltage of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells is lower than its open circuit voltage. There are three main sources for such difference between the two voltages:  activation losses, ohmic losses and diffusion losses. The last one is mainly due to mass transfer resistance of reactants within gas diffusion layers.

It is believed that an in-depth understanding of such mass transfer resistance will lead to either a modified design and/or new material that effectively distribute the fuel and oxidant on the catalyst layers.  As a consequence, the performance of the fuel cell will be improved.  Therefore the initial aim of this project is to accurately model the transport of multicomponent gas flow through anisotropic inhomogeneous gas diffusion layers (GDLs) in PEM fuel cells.

The study will also be extended to investigate the anisotropy of gas diffusion layers and subsequently to better understand the relationship between the permeability and both the porosity and structure of the GDLs. The picture next to this paragraph demonstrates a typical domain of interest for a cathode diffusion layer.

The transport of gases through this region were simulated using a CFD software, Fluent. User Defined Functions (UDFs) were used to match the boundary conditions between the flow channel and gas diffusion layer and between the latter region and catalyst layer. The bottom picture shows the contours of oxygen mass fraction for given boundary conditions and parameters.

Future work might treat transport phenomena of gases through other PEM fuel cell components: flow channels, catalyst layers and membranes. Where possible, light will be also shed on modelling the charge transfer and multiphase flow.      

Masli Rosli CFD PhD Student

Masli Irwan Rosli pmmir@leeds.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 113 343 3824

Project Title: Computational and Physical Modelling of Water Management in PEM fuel cells
Supervisor: Mohamed Pourkashanian

 

 

  In the current project, modelling and simulation will be focussed on PEM fuel cells due to their high advantages and wide range of potential applications.  In-house water transport submodels for PEMFC will be developed and a commercial CFD software will be used to solve for the general fluid flows and heat transfer that occur in the fuel cell.  For validation, the simulation results will be compared with data from experimental works. The fuel cell test rig has been set up for fuel cell parameters and performance investigation especially in water management.  A single PEM fuel cell stack will be specially designed and fabricated in order to produce applicable and comparable data.  Direct visualisation techniques will be used in order to capture the photos and evaluate water management behaviour inside the flow-field channels.  The design for distributors will be focussed on flow-field patterns and the shapes of the gas distributor plates. Thus, the goal of the current project is to develop a mathematical model to predict the performances of the PEM fuel cell using different shapes and geometries of gas distributors to improve water management inside the fuel cells and enhance their performance and durability.
  Fuel Cell
  Transparent PEM fuel cell stack
Martin Thomas CFD PhD Student Martin Thomas pmmlrt@leeds.ac.uk

Research Interest: Fuel Cells CFD Modelling and Experiments
Supervisor: Mohamed Pourkashanian

 

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has become a valuable tool for the development and analysis of fuel cells. The most commonly used CFD methods are finite volume (FV) or finite element (FE) methods. In the framework of my PhD I develop a subroutine for the commercial finite volume solver Fluent which allows simulating fuel cells. The purpose of this work is to investigate fuel cell designs on a macroscopic level as well as stack designs. The subroutine is capable of handling arbitrary geometries, the only requirement is that for each fuel cell there is one anodic fluid domain and one cathodic fluid domain which are separated by a solid electrolyte domain. The polarisations can be computed in different ways, depending on the user input.

Yasemin Vural CFD PhD Student Yasemin Vural pmyv@leeds.ac.uk

Research Interests: CFD Modelling of Solid-Oxide Fuel Cells
Supervisor: Mohamed Pourkashanian

 

My research is in general on the CFD modelling of fuel cells in order to accurately predict the fuel cell performance, which in turn helps in design optimization of fuel cells. Specifically, I am interested in the modelling of the multicomponent mass diffusion processes in the porous medium of the fuel cells. The diffusion processes are related with the collision of the atoms/molecules on the molecular level. Therefore, my research also includes the understanding and accurate definition of the atomistic scale processes and their combination with the macroscopic processes. This non-straightforward task requires the knowledge of both kinetic theory of gases and statistical mechanics as well as the combination of them with the macroscopic processes and their numerical solutions.

As a part of my research, I also searched the applicability and capability of a neuro-fuzzy system, namely an Artificial Neuro-Fuzzy Inference System (ANFIS) for the prediction of the performance of an Intermediate Temperature Tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) and a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) which can be used alternatively to CFD models especially for complex nonlinear systems such as fuel cell systems.

Inga Shpilevaya

Inga Shpilevaya pmis@leeds.ac.uk

Research Interest: Development of Carbon Based Metal Free Catalysts for PEM Fuel Cells
Supervisors: Mohamed Pourkashanian, Kevin Hughes

The objective of this project is to develop novel carbon-based metal-free electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction and demonstrate the potential of substitution of Pt-catalysts in PEM fuel cells. PEM fuel cells are one of the most promising sources of clean efficient electrical energy generation. However, performance and durability are two major obstacles for extensive production and commercialisation of PEMFCs. Especially, the electrocatalysts are the main reason for PEMFC's limited performance and low durability. Currently, only Pt or Pt-based catalysts have appropriate efficiency in a PEMFC environment. However, their practical use is restricted by the cost and limited supply.

In a PEMFC, the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at the cathode side is the kinetically slow process dominating the entire performance. Consequently, developing active catalysts for the ORR is the focus of PEMFC electro catalysis research and development.

The first step of research project involves a theoretical analysis using Molecular Modelling to assess the most appropriate materials for electrocatalyst application. In this study, simulation of ORR is a key point in developing of the best metal-free cathode material for PEM fuel cells. A systematic theoretical study is used to provide molecular-level understanding on catalytic activity of novel graphite metal-free catalysts. This will be complemented by experimental work to produce, characterise, and test promising candidate materials in fuel cells.

   
Dr Duncan Borman CFD Centre

Dr Duncan Borman
BEng, MSc (Leeds), PhD (Leeds)
Tel: +44 (0)113 343 2354
Fax: +44 (0)113 246 7310
d.j.borman@leeds.ac.uk

personal webpage

Dr Kevin Hughes

Dr Kevin Hughes
BSc, PhD (Leicester)
Senior Research Fellow
Telephone: +44 (0)113 343 2481
Fax: +44(0)113 246 7310
K.J.Hughes@leeds.ac.uk

personal webpage

Dr Lin Ma

Lin Ma
BSc, MSc, PhD
Senior Research Fellow
Tel: +44 (0)113 343 2481
Fax: +44(0)113 246 7310
L.Ma@leeds.ac.uk

personal webpage

Prof Derek Ingham

Prof Derek Ingham
BSc, PhD, DSc (Leeds), CMath, FIMA
Professor in Applied Mathematics
Tel: +44 (0)113 343 5113
Fax: +44 (0)113 246 7310
d.b.ingham@leeds.ac.uk

personal webpage

mohamed pourkashanian

Professor MC Pourkashanian
MSc, PhD (Leeds)
Professor in High Temperature Combustion Processes

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 2512
Fax: +44 (0)113 246 7310
fue6mtz@leeds.ac.uk

personal webpage