Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 327–337 | Cite as

On efficiency of both single fuel cells and stacks I



A method to estimate the efficiency of a stack of several identical cells is described on the basis of the electrochemical behavior of a single cell. Efficiency of fuel cell stacks is defined by means of a combination of semi-empirical models of polarization curves and dimensionless variables such as reaction extent and utilization. The connection of flows among the cells is basically divided in two extreme cases and one intermediate case. Higher efficiencies are obtained when the same main flow (both anodic and cathodic) passes consecutively through the stack cells (Chain Flow), because it is favored thermodynamically. It is less favored when the main flow is strictly divided among all the cells (Separate Flow). In the intermediate case, the main flow is divided among all the stack cells and all the outlets are collected in one flow. The latter can spontaneously evolve to the more thermodynamically stable behavior of Chain Flow.


fuel cell efficiency, fuel cell thermodynamics, polarization curve, stack reaction extent, stack utilization 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Renewable Energy Center, Basic Sciences Department, Engineering DivisionInstituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, at Mexico CityMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.Electrical Techniques FacultyFachhochschule Stralsund (University of Applied Sciences)StralsundGermany
  3. 3.Chemistry Department, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Avanzados (CINVESTAV)Instituto Politécnico NacionalMexico CityMexico

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