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Passive heat and mass transfer in fuel cells

Stanford Reference:



This patented heat and water management system helps to minimize parasitic energy loss in fuel cells. The passive technology integrates a thermally and electrically conductive wicking element between the gas diffusion layer and the current collector of a fuel cell. Inside the fuel cell stack water is driven through hydrophilic pores by surface tension to the outside, where it is removed by convection driven evaporation. This technology decouples heat and water removal from the oxidant supply and could improve overall fuel cell performance, efficiency and longevity.

Stage of Research
The inventors have tested the heat/mass transfer wick in air breathing fuel cells for a portable device. The technology dramatically improved power output and stability - the fuel cell successfully operated under severe flooding conditions, ambient temperature 10°C and relative humidity of 80%, for up to 6 h with no observable cathode flooding or loss of performance.


  • Fuel cell heat and water management


  • Simple, integrated design - heat and water transfer functionality are combined in a single structure
  • Passive and effective heat and water removal from reaction zone without parasitic energy loss
  • Heat and water removal decoupled from oxidant supply


Innovators & Portfolio

Patent Status

Date Released


Licensing Contact

Evan Elder, Licensing Associate
650-725-9558 (Mobile)
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[-] Map/Timeline

99-202 PEM Fuel Cell Assembly
02-069 Miniature Fuel Cell
02-108 Solid Oxide Electrolyte

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Related Keywords

Heat Transfer   protonic membranes   energy: fuel cell   fluid management   



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99-202 PEM Fuel Cell Assembly
02-069 Miniature Fuel Cell
02-108 Solid Oxide Electrolyte

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