Considerable waste heat is generated via the oxygen reduction reaction in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. Consequently, heat generation and removal in conventional fuel cell architectures has been carefully investigated in order to achieve effective thermal management. Here we present a novel microscale fuel cell design that utilizes a half-membrane electrode assembly. In this design, a single fuel/electrolyte stream provides an additional pathway for heat removal that is not present in traditional fuel cell architectures. The model presented here investigates heat removal over a range of inlet fuel temperatures. Heat generation densities are determined experimentally for all inlet fuel temperatures. The simulations presented here predict thermal profiles throughout this microscale fuel cell design. Simulation results show that the fuel stream dominates heat removal at room temperature. As inlet fuel temperature increases, the majority of heat removal occurs via convection with the ambient air. The model also shows that heat transfer through the oxidant channel is minimal over the range of inlet fuel temperatures.

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