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[en] A two-dimensional, non-isothermal model of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell was implemented to elucidate heat balance through the membrane electrode assembly (MEA). To take local utilization of platinum catalyst into account, the model was presented by considering the formation of agglomerated catalyst structure in the electrodes. To estimate energy balance through the MEA, various modes of heat generation and depletion by reversible/irreversible heat release, ohmic heating and phase change of water were included in the present model. In addition, dual-pathway kinetics, that is a combination of Heyrovsky–Volmer and Tafel–Volmer kinetics, were employed to precisely describe the hydrogen oxidation reaction. The proposed model was validated with experimental cell polarization, resulting in excellent fit. The temperature distribution inside the MEA was analyzed by the model. Consequently, a thorough investigation was made of the relation between membrane thickness and the temperature distribution inside the MEA.