Optimizing the electrified powertrain

Fuel Cell System Simulation

Using simulation to optimize fuel cell efficiency and lifetime

With the continued electrification of the powertrain in order to reduce emissions, our customers are facing challenges of increased system complexity. This adds pressure to the development toolchain, particularly in terms of time-to-market, product quality, and lifetime cost.

This is also true in fuel cell development. Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells offer a large potential as a clean energy source, but optimizing them to meet performance targets is challenging. At AVL, we have a solution to this challenge, through the use of our leading simulation tools.

Introducing AVL CRUISE™ M and AVL FIRE™M

AVL CRUISE™ M and AVL FIRE™ M offer dedicated simulation capabilities for the optimization of PEM fuel cells. This includes the relevant Balance of Plant (BoP) components, such as the humidifier, water separator and the injector/ejector. They allow you to create sophisticated system-level models, which range from real time-capable empirical simulations to completely physical-based approaches. Furthermore, our powerful simulation tools allow you to create scalable models of PEM fuel cell system behaviour in the office, as well as in the testbed environment.


BoP Component Selection

To achieve the highest efficiency and the longest lifetime of the PEM fuel cell system, it is important for you to make the proper sizing of BoP components. CRUISE M enables you to virtually assess the impact of BoP component characteristics on PEM fuel cell system performance. It supports you in proper technology selection and component dimensioning.

Additionally, the multiphysics 3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) capabilities of FIRE M support the detailed design of the BoP components. This aids the parameterization of the related system-level modules.


Thermal Management

PEM fuel stacks must operate safely and efficiently under all conditions. This requires reliable dynamic stack temperature conditioning, and therefore it is vital that the overall system thermal management is properly dimensioned. System level simulation with CRUISE M enable virtual cooling system layout, selection and sizing of cooling system components, heat exchanger and radiator elements. In addition, the modelling capabilities of FIRE M support the detailed design of the stack and cooling system-related heat transfer characteristics and related components.


Dynamic System Operation

CRUISE M enables you to optimize your control strategy layout to ensure proper system performance characteristics in the office, for stable and efficient stationary and transient operation. For example, this might include modelling high system dynamics under transient operating conditions and smooth system behaviour during start-up and shutdown.

CRUISE M’s real time capabilities let you use PEM fuel cell system models directly in the testbed environment. This supports calibration of related control system parameters.

The use of these two powerful and flexible simulation tools lets you achieve maximum system efficiency, for example by optimizing compressor and fuel cell stack matching. Seamless model re-use in MiL, SiL, HiL environments saves you time, reduces costs and development effort.