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Seeing inside the cell

Cell Simulation for Fuel Cells

Virtual PEM Fuel Cell Development

As the quest to reduce emissions drives the electrification of the powertrain, the automotive industry seeks ways to increase the efficiency of these electrified systems. Fuel cells offer a potentially emission-free power source, and at AVL we are leading the industry in their development.

We already have decades of experience developing simulation tools for automotive applications, and now we are bringing this expertise to the fuel cell. Our 3D multi-physics simulation solution, AVL FIRE™ M, lets you simulate flow, thermal and electrochemical processes in PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cells.
 

Simulation for Fuel Cell Optimization


FIRE M features detailed physical and chemical models that enable you to analyze and optimize complex processes at cell level. Chemical species transport and conversion can be investigated with the FIRE M multi-physics approach, along with cooling efficiency and liquid water formation. These govern cell and stack performance and degradation characteristics.

Using the insight gained from FIRE M investigations, you can enhance the performance and power density of the fuel cell and optimize flow field uniformity. By matching bipolar-plate flow field design and membrane electrode assembly (MEA), cell performance and durability can be enhanced. This results in increased lifetime, the minimization of degradation effects and a reduction in experimental testing.

 

Looking Within the Cell


FIRE M has comprehensive multiphysics 3D CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) capabilities. You can use them to gain a detailed insight into the interplay between channel geometries, reactant transport across the gas-diffusion-layer and the conversion process at the catalyst layer.

You can also use FIRE M to identify critical operating parameters. Modeling water accumulation in the gas-diffusion layer, for example, as well as in the media supply channels, can help you optimize cell performance and avoid cell damage. The level of detail provided by FIRE M, allows you to predict unexpected behaviors and amend your designs accordingly.