Production- and structure-optimized metallic flow field for bipolar plates (ProStroM)

To achieve a serial application of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) in mobile applications, an efficient and high-performance operation is required. The objective of the project “ProStroM” is the application of a new optimization approach for the flow field structure of bipolar plate modules in order to increase efficiency and power density. To achieve this objective, metallic 3D flow field structures are applied, which are optimized for high power densities while considering the power limiting factors. Furthermore, the 3D flow structures are designed to be suitable for large-scale production. 

The focus at the IAM-ET is the electrochemical in-situ characterization and modelling of the developed 3D flow field structures (i) in small-scale repeat-units and (ii) in segmented cells. The work packages include the analysis and quantification (i) of local, flow field-induced losses as well as (ii) the progression of local quantities and their influence on the distribution of current density and loss processes in the stack layer. For this purpose, measurement methods such as the electrochemical impedance spectroscopy are applied to obtain the performance limiting processes as well as liquid water mechanisms. The results are incorporated in an electrochemical cell model. The achievements by the IAM-ET will be used to assess the developed flow field structures and are considered at the optimization process.