My three month internship took place in National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Tainan, south city of Taiwan. The National Cheng Kung University is ranked the second among all universities nationwide. I worked in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The Department focuses on intense research activities in various topics in engineering field. The Department has now more than 2,500 graduates with B.S., M.S. or Ph.D. degree, serving either as research fellows in national-defence related organizations or as engineers in the aerospace and related industry.
I worked with a group of M.S. and Ph.D. student who studied fuel cell systems. The first part of my internship was to learn and understand the theory of the fuel cell especially about one type of fuel cell, Proton Membrane Exchange Fuel Cell, PEMFC. An experimental part had also been done with a testing bench on a simple 5 cells stack fuel cell. The other part of my work is to identify the different mechanisms that can diminish the performance. The last part is to simulate a simple two parallel channels with modelling the membrane electrode assembly (MEA).
Fuel cells are energy conversion devices that continuously transform the chemical energy of a fuel and an oxidant into electrical energy. There are many different types of fuel cells, but Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell is the most promising technology. In PEMFC the energy conversion process transforms the chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, and released water and heat. PEMFC has the advantage of working at low temperature (60°-80°), allowing a quick start time. PEM fuel cells are suitable for use in vehicles and in portable applications. NASA used fuel cell for its space applications in the Gemini spacecraft and also for the Apollo vehicles.
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