In previous work, a thermoelectric (TE) exhaust heat recovery subsystem for a high temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (HT-PEM) fuel cell stack was developed and modeled. Numerical simulations were conducted and have identified an optimized subsystem configuration and 4 types of compact heat exchangers with superior performance for further analysis. In this work, the on-design performances of the 4 heat exchangers are more thoroughly assessed on their corresponding optimized subsystem configurations. Afterward, their off-design performances are compared on the whole working range of the fuel cell stack. All through this study, different electrical connection styles of all the thermoelectric generator (TEG) modules in the subsystem and their influences are also discussed. In the end, the subsystem configuration is further optimized and a higher subsystem power output is achieved. All TEG modules are now connected into branches. The procedures of designing and optimizing this TE exhaust heat recovery subsystem are drawn out. The contribution of TE exhaust heat recovery to the HT-PEM fuel cell power system is preliminarily concluded. Its feasibility is also discussed.
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2014, Vol 39, Issue 12