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Colloquium: Jay Benziger (Princeton University)

October 7, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Shriram 104

Professor Jay Benziger

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Princeton University


Abstract: Fan the Flame with Water: Operation of PEM Fuel Cells with Dry Feeds

Water management is a major technological problem with Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells.  Fuel cells fail when membranes dehydrate at low relative humidity or when liquid water floods the fuel cell at 100%RH.  The basic physics of Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell reactors has demonstrated that the water produced at the cathode can auto-humidify the fuel cell to operate with dry feeds.  Auto-humidified fuel cells are conceptually identical to auto-thermal reactors, e.g. flames!  Current density fronts propagate in fuel cells resulting from a balance between convection and diffusion, analogous to flame fronts that propagate resulting from a balance between convection and heat conduction. Model fuel cells have also elucidated how liquid water moves through the porous electrodes and gas flow channels of PEM fuel cell.  We exploited gravity to facilitate liquid water removal in the channel-less self-draining PEM fuel cell.  In this talk we shall show how reaction engineering principles are employed to improve PEM fuel cell design.

Biography of Professor Jay Benziger:

Jay Benziger is a professor of Chemical Engineering at Princeton University.  He was educated in Mathematics, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Carleton College, Columbia University and Stanford University.  Professor Benziger is an expert in chemical reaction engineering and chemical process technology.  Professor Benziger’s group has developed novel reactor designs for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells that have provided the physical basis for water management and controlling the dynamic behavior of PEM fuel cells. Professor Benziger’s group has also elucidated the coupling of mechanical properties and transport processes in polymer electrolytes.  His group designed and executed experiments that elucidated the roles of geometry, gravity and surface wettability on the formation and motion of drops and slugs in microfluidic channels and porous electrodes.   Professor Benziger collaborated with Professor Steve Forrest in developing new reactor designs for continuous processing of organic thin film deposition for OLEDs and solar cells with Organic Vapor Phase Jet Deposition.  Professor Benziger has been a co PI with Professor Frank Calaprice in the development of a 1000 ton ultrahigh purity liquid scintillator for the Borexino Solar Neutrino experiment that permitted the successful measurement of the 7Be solar neutrino flux and set new limits on the CNO solar Neutrino fluxes. Professor Benziger oversaw the development of purification systems that reduced radioactive background impurity levels to less than one atom per ton.

Professor Benziger co-authored over 275 papers in refereed journals and holds 7 US patents.  He has received the Exxon Award in Solid State Chemistry from the Inorganic Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, and the Purdy Award from the American Ceramic Society.  He is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  He is on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Industrial Engineering Chemistry and Membranes and is a Senior Editor of Journal of Power Sources. 

Professor Benziger teaches courses in Catalytic Chemistry, Energy Technology, Engineering Ethics and Social Responsibility, Chemical Reaction Engineering and Chemical Engineering Laboratory.  He has served as the Faculty adviser overseeing the undergraduate program in Chemical Engineering and also coordinated the summer research experience for undergraduates program in the Princeton Institute for Science and Technology of Materials. Professor Benziger is active in the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Materials Research Society.  He also served as the Chairman of the Central Jersey Section of the AICHE from 2000-2015.

Recent Publications highlighting Professor Benziger’s work
Organic Thin Film Processing
Lunt, R. R.; Benziger, J. B.; Forrest, S. R., Relationship between Crystalline Order and Exciton Diffusion Length in Molecular Organic Semiconductors. Advanced Materials 2010, 22 (11), 1233-+.doi:10.1002/adma.200902827.
Lunt, R.R.; Sun, K.; Kroger, M.; Benziger, J.B.; Forrest, S.R.; Ordered organic-organic multilayer growth; Physical Review B, 2011, 83(6) 064114. Doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.83.064114.
Fuel Cell Reactors
Benziger, J. (2009). "Fan the Flame with Water: Current Ignition, Front Propagation and Multiple Steady States in Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells." Aiche Journal 55(12): 3034-3040. 10.1002/aic.12117
De Decker, Y., J. B. Benziger, et al. (2010). "Multistability, nonlinear response and wave propagation in self-humidified PEM fuel cells." Chemical Engineering Science 65(7): 2399-2409. Doi: 10.1016/j.ces.2009.09.011
Kimball, E. E.; Benziger, J. B.; Kevrekidis, Y. G., Effects of GDL Structure with an Efficient Approach to the Management of Liquid water in PEM Fuel Cells. Fuel Cells 2010, 10 (4), 530-544.
Benziger, J., Reactor Dynamics of PEM Fuel Cells. In Device and Materials Modeling in Pem Fuel Cells, 2009; Vol. 113, pp 91-122. Doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-78691-9_3
Properties of Polymer Electrolytes
Zhao, Q.A.; Majsztrik, P.; Benziger, J.; Diffusion and interfacial transport of water in Nafion; Jour. Phys. Chem. B 2011, 115(12) 2717-2727. Doi:10.1021/jp1112125
Cheah MJ, Kevrekidis IG, Benziger J. Effect of Interfacial Water Transport Resistance on Coupled Proton and Water Transport Across Nafion. Journal of Physical Chemistry B. Sep 2011;115(34):10239-10250. Doi: 10.1021/jp204785t.
Zhao Q, Benziger J. Mechanical properties of perfluoro sulfonated acids: The role of temperature and solute activity. Journal of Polymer Science Part B-Polymer Physics. Jun 2013;51(11):915-925.
Benziger JB, Cheah MJ, Klika V, Pavelka M. Interfacial Constraints on Water and Proton Transport Across Nafion Membranes. Journal of Polymer Science Part B-Polymer Physics. Nov 2015;53(22):1580-1589.

Multiphase Flow in Pores and Channels
Cheah MJ, Kevrekidis IG, Benziger JB. Water Slug to Drop and Film Transitions in Gas-Flow Channels. Langmuir. Dec 2013;29(48):15122-15136.
Hellstern T, Gauthier E, Cheah MJ, Benziger JB. The role of the gas diffusion layer on slug formation in gas flow channels of fuel cells. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. Nov 2013;38(35):15414-15427.
Ye DHH, Gauthier E, Cheah MJ, Benziger J, Pan M. The Effect of Gas Diffusion Layer Compression on Gas Bypass and Water Slug Motion in Parallel Gas Flow Channels. Aiche Journal. Jan 2015;61(1):355-367.
Purification Technologies for Solar Neutrino Detectors
Benin G, Benziger J, Bick D, et al. Neutrinos from the primary proton-proton fusion process in the Sun. Nature. Aug 2014;512(7515):383-U313.
Benziger J. The Borexino purification system. International Journal of Modern Physics A. Jun 2014;29(16).
Benziger JB, Calaprice FP. Large-scale liquid scintillation detectors for solar neutrinos. European Physical Journal A. Apr 2016;52(4).