Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry

, Volume 135, Issue 3, pp 1911–1919 | Cite as

Three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics modeling of proton exchange membrane electrolyzer with new flow field pattern

  • Somayeh Toghyani
  • Ebrahim AfshariEmail author
  • Ehsan Baniasadi


The performance of a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer cell directly depends on the arrangement of flow field in bipolar plates (BPs). The design of flow field in BPs should be in a way that a uniform distribution of flow is achieved; in this regard, a three-dimensional model of a new flow field arrangement with a cross section of 64 cm2 is proposed and the distribution of current density, temperature, and pressure drop is investigated. A numerical model is carried out at the steady-state, single-phase, and non-isothermal condition based on finite volume control method. The continuity, momentum, species, energy and electric charge balance equations together with electrochemical kinetics relations in different regions of PEM electrolyzer are solved in a single-domain model. The results of numerical model are compared against experimental data, and an acceptable agreement is observed at low and medium currents densities. The results reveal that the spiral flow field yields a uniform distribution of produced hydrogen and current density. Moreover, the proposed flow field design leads to a uniform distribution of temperature through the channel path. The availability of water and current density at vertical paths of the flow field are higher.


PEM electrolyzer Flow field CFD modeling Single-domain model Hydrogen production 

List of symbols


Specific active surface area (m−1)


Superficial electrode area (m2)


Molar concentration of the kth species (mol m−3)


Specific heat at constant pressure (J kg−1 K−1)


Diameter of pore (m)


Effective diffusion coefficient of the kth component (m2 s−1)


Faraday constant, 96,487 (C mol−1)


Exchange current density (A m−2)


Current density (A m−2)


Thermal conductivity (W m−1 K−1)


Molecular mass (kg mol−1)


Pressure (Pa)


Universal gas constant, 8.314 (J mol−1 K−1)


Source term


Temperature (K)


Uniformity index

Greek symbols


Transfer coefficient for reaction


Concentration dependence


Volume fraction


Over-potential (V)


Permeability (m2)


Membrane water content


Dynamic viscosity (Pa s)


Ionic conductivity of membrane (S m−1)


Density (kg m−3)


Effective ionic conductivity coefficient of the membrane (S m−1)


Potential (V)











Open circuit




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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Somayeh Toghyani
    • 1
  • Ebrahim Afshari
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ehsan Baniasadi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of IsfahanIsfahanIran

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