Fuel Cell Modeling

In certain power applications, proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) systems are preferable because they can convert fuel energy to work more efficiently than internal combustion engines and have energy-to-power ratios that can be easily adapted, unlike batteries. However, the cost and durability, and to a lesser extent, size and weight, of PEMFCs are not yet adequate to justify their use beyond niche devices and select demonstrations. Much work is being done to investigate the modes of failure and degradation, develop new materials and structures, improve manufacturing processes, and design better systems. Mathematical models of PEMFCs are being used to help understand the relevant physical phenomena, study the effects of design choices, and perform model-based control. The breadth of these goals has led to a multitude of specialized models.

The goal of this research is to reconcile many of these models and combine them in a reconfigurable PEMFC model that is effective for a variety of uses. The research involves the development of physically representative equations for modeling PEMFC behavior and the evaluation of the equations in Modelica, a declarative object-oriented modeling language that is supported by powerful software for symbolic manipulation, index reduction, linearization, and dynamic simulation.

For more information on the model please see the following:

FCSys logo Documentation (with download link)
github project page Source code

Supporting tool to set up Modelica simulation experiments and analyze the results in Python:

Documentation (with download link)
github project page Source code
Listing in the Python Package Index (PyPI)