M.S. Thesis Presentation by Brent Hull
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

(Dr. Sheldon Jeter, advisor)

"Fuel Cell Moisture and Energy Recovery"

Abstract

Fuel cell technology provides a means of converting chemical energy to electrical power. PEM fuel cells use a large quantity of water for fuel reformation and membrane hydration. The exhausted product of a PEM fuel cell is high pressure, temperature, and humidity oxygen-depleted air. A system that can recycle some of the energy and moisture from the exhaust stream will improve the efficiency of a fuel cell and simplify its operations.

The objective of this project is to experimentally test a system to remove energy and moisture from the hot and humid exhaust stream. The fuel cell exhaust stream is simulated by heating compressed air and humidifying the air with steam. The system tested makes use of an automotive turbocharger to remove energy from the exhaust stream and provide compressed air to the fuel cell. The moisture that is condensed from the stream is then collected in a centrifugal moisture separator. The performance of the system will be parameterized by testing at several different temperatures, relative humidity levels, and mass flow rates. The measured values of certain controlled variables will be used to predict the related dependent variables; and the predicted results will be compared with measured results. The overall performance will be assessed and implications for improvements will be discussed.