One of the attractions of high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell is the quality of the heat co-produced with power that could be recovered for use in a combined heat and power system. In this study, a one-dimensional model for a single PEM fuel cell was developed and implemented in Engineering Equations Solver (EES) environment to express the cell voltage as a function of current density among others. The single cell model was employed to investigate the energetic behaviour of a 1 kWe high temperature PEM fuel cell stack system, and the corresponding power and thermal efficiencies at different operating modes. A multiple parametric analyses using the built-in EES uncertainty propagation tool was used to determine the stack performance for the selected parameter range. The influence of the stack operating temperature, hydrogen utilization, the carbon monoxide content in the anode gas feed and the current density, on the efficiency of the fuel cell stack were studied at the required stack electrical output.
The study showed that an increase in temperature increased the stack electrical power output whilst the thermal output decreased. The stack electrical power output was seen to increase with increase in the current density and hydrogen stoichiometry. It can be seen that ratio between the electrical power and thermal output increased as the current density increases. This ratio becomes unity at an operating current density of 0.3 A/cm2, representing the optimal operating current density of the stack. An increase in the hydrogen utilization has positive effects on both the cogeneration and thermal efficiency.