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Gas block mechanism for water removal in fuel cells

United States Patent

February 3, 2004
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
The present invention is directed to apparatus and method for cathode-side disposal of water in an electrochemical fuel cell. There is a cathode plate. Within a surface of the plate is a flow field comprised of interdigitated channels. During operation of the fuel cell, cathode gas flows by convection through a gas diffusion layer above the flow field. Positioned at points adjacent to the flow field are one or more porous gas block mediums that have pores sized such that water is sipped off to the outside of the flow field by capillary flow and cathode gas is blocked from flowing through the medium. On the other surface of the plate is a channel in fluid communication with each porous gas block mediums. The method for water disposal in a fuel cell comprises installing the cathode plate assemblies at the cathode sides of the stack of fuel cells and manifolding the single water channel of each of the cathode plate assemblies to the coolant flow that feeds coolant plates in the stack.
Issacci; Farrokh (Playa Del Rey, CA), Rehg; Timothy J. (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA)
Hybrid Power Generation Systems, LLC (Torrance, CA)
10/ 039,503
January 4, 2002
GOVERNMENT RIGHTS This invention was made with the support of the United States Government under Contract DE-FC02-97EE50470 awarded by the Department of Energy under its 50 Kilowatt Fuel Cell Stack Development Program. The Government may have certain rights to this invention.