Computer Simulation of Solid Electrolyte Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
W. R. Dunbar

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104

R. A. Gaggioli

Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 53233

J. Energy Resour. Technol 112(2), 114-123 (Jun 01, 1990) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2905717 History: Received August 14, 1989; Revised March 21, 1990; Online April 16, 2008


This paper presents the results of mathematical modeling of the performance of solid electrolyte fuel cells. The system of fundamental physical equations has been solved using a computer program which was developed expressly for this purpose, in order to simulate the performance of arrays of fuel cells for which experimental data exists in the literature. The comparison of experimental data and simulated performance is excellent. The results of the simulation show the influence of each irreversible process within the fuel cell, quantitatively; that is, the relative importance of each source of inefficiency—and the consequent voltage loss—is determined. Because certain rate constants (for diffusion and for chemical kinetics) employed in the model were obtained by regression, it cannot be claimed that the ability to fit the experimental data is a definitive test of the model; more work is needed for that purpose. Nevertheless, it is shown that (a) modeling of fuel cells on the basis of basic physical principles is a worthwhile venture, (b) the model presented here simulates performance well and warrants further development, and (c) it not only simulates the overall performance of the cells, but also provides the important breakdown of the effects of each irreversibility in the cells. Furthermore, specific recommendations are made in this paper for improving the model.

Copyright © 1990 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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