Fuel cell modeling, testing and emulation (PEMFC and SOFC)

Axis animator : Fei Gao, MCF

This axis is based on three research themes closely linked: fuel cells multiphysics modeling, its experimental validation, and its real-time applications. The axis covers three specific types of fuel cells: PEMFC, SOFC and IT-SOFC.

Different models presented in FC LAB research federation

The first theme of axis is the development of analytical, semi-empirical or empirical fuel cell models and fuel cell systems models. These models are essentially multiphysics (electrical, fluidic, electrochemical, thermal, mechanical, and so on…) and multi-scales (time and space). The models developed in the FC LAB research federation include both simple energetic models for control system, and complicate CFD models (Computational Fluid Dynamic) for design/optimization of the fuel cells.

Fuel cell experimental test platforms in FC LAB research federation

The developed models are then validated experimentally in nominal operating conditions, but also in extreme operating conditions (below-zero temperature, vibrations, electrical cycling, and so on…). These experimental validations are performed by using or developing the testing facilities (unique in France, almost unique in Europe) at Belfort.


Real-Time applications: fuel cells emulator and real-time model based control

Some developed models can be then implemented in real time systems (after a models reduction step if necessary), with the aim of fuel cell emulation for HIL (Hardware in the Loop) applications, or for the implementation in models based controllers, allowing rapid prototyping and control laws optimization for fuel cell systems.

Futur researches

Future researches planned for the axis « modeling, experimentation and emulation of fuel cells » in the short and medium term focus on four different points:

1) The aging/natural degradation models of fuel cells: highly interested by industry, the aging modeling is a key to characterize the fuel cell lifespan.

2) The fuel cell models that take into account the extreme conditions (flooding of the electrode, below-zero temperature startup). The models can be used to analyze the impacts of these extreme conditions on the fuel cells performance.

3) The development of testing protocol and platform for accelerated aging tests, based on thermal and electrical cycling, or on ad-hoc level of reactants.

4) Multidimensional models (2-D or 3-D) for real-time diagnostics and control, in order to develop control laws based on the spatial physical quantities analysis in a fuel cell under real time (for example, the current density distribution).


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