The thermodynamic performance of a PEM fuel cell system for producing electrical power from natural gas is investigated by considering the flows of energy and exergy through the various steps of the whole system. The flows of energy are evaluated using a computer code for energy and exergy analyses. The fuel cell system is designed to produce a hydrogen volumetric flow of nearly 5.0 m3NTp/h, provided to the fuel cell at an absolute pressure of 2.9 bar. The fuel cell itself is working with an efficiency of about 60 % at an operating temperature of 65 - 75 °C with an air ratio of four and provides a maximum electric power of 9 kW. Taking into consideration only the produced electric power as useful output of the fuel cell system a total efficiency of 42.2 % is calculated using the simulation results.

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