Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module

COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.6 introduces the new Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module. This product is an add-on to COMSOL Multiphysics® and contains new Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Water Electrolyzer physics interfaces for modeling fuel cells and electrolyzers. Learn more about this new product below.

Modeling Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers

The new Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module provides engineers with state-of-the-art modeling and simulation tools for fuel cells and electrolyzers, along with general-purpose tools for realistic fluid flow properties and detailed electrochemical simulations. Using the new module, you can include charge transport, electrode reactions, thermodynamics, gas-phase diffusion, porous media flow, and two-phase flow when analyzing and optimizing technology for hydrogen vehicles and energy storage.

A blue model of a PEM water electrolyzer. PEM water electrolyzer Gas volume fraction in a polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolyzer analyzed with the new Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module.

Note that, as of COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.6, the name of the product Batteries & Fuel Cells Module has changed to Battery Design Module, while retaining all functionality. Users that model fuel cells and electrolyzers are advised to use this new Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module.

The below sections highlight general functionality news that is relevant for modeling fuel cells and electrolyzers and that has not been available in any previous versions of the COMSOL Multiphysics® add-on products used for modeling electrochemistry.

Predefined Oxygen and Hydrogen Electrodes

Modeling gas diffusion electrodes (GDEs) in the Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module is very straightforward. The transport equations in the gas phase and in the pore electrolyte are automatically defined in the user interface based on the boundary conditions added. The software contains separate domain features for defining the hydrogen and oxygen electrodes. The main electrode reactions are predefined, but you can change the kinetics and add bi- and parasitic reactions. These predefined electrodes are available for both the fuel cells and electrolyzers.

Automatic Generation of Iterative Solvers

The Iterative Geometric and Algebraic Multigrid solvers are now automatically generated by the study step nodes (however, a Direct solver will still always be used by default). Enabling one of the iterative solvers may decrease memory use and computational time for large simulations.

Linearization of Concentration Dependence in Electrode Kinetics

The new Linearization option improves kinetics for nonunit reaction orders by circumventing issues when evaluating powers of negative numbers. This feature is available in the Electrode Reaction and Porous Electrode Reaction nodes in the Tertiary Current Distribution interfaces when using the Nernst equation for the equilibrium potential in combination with either the Mass action law or Lumped multistep for the exchange current density. The new Linearization option is turned on by default when creating a new model and is used by all tutorial models featuring the Nernst equation and mass action law or lumped multistep kinetics options.

Highly Conductive Porous Electrode

The new Highly Conductive Porous Electrode domain node is available in most electrochemistry interfaces. This feature can be used for porous electrodes with a high conductivity in the electron-conducting electrode phase. It replaces the spatial variable for the electrode potential by a global variable, thereby reducing the number of degrees of freedom of the problem.

Revamped Porous Media Features for Transport of Diluted Species

The Transport of Diluted Species in Porous Media interface is revamped to use the new Porous Medium node. Two new domain features, the Porous Medium and the Unsaturated Porous Medium nodes, are available in the Transport of Diluted Species in Porous Media interface. You can use the new Porous Medium node for assigning material properties to the multiple phases in a porous medium. The new nodes have dedicated containers to define the properties for the liquid, gas, and porous matrix. You can see this functionality demonstrated in the Ceramic Water Filter with Activated Carbon Core tutorial model.

A closeup view of the COMSOL Multiphysics version 5.6 UI with the settings shown for Transport of Diluted Species in Porous Media and a ceramic water filter candle model in the Graphics window. Demonstrating the updated porous media features Contaminant concentration in a ceramic water filter candle.

Included Tutorial Models

COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.6 contains several tutorial models for the Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module.

Mass Transport and Electrochemical Reaction in a Fuel Cell Cathode

A model of a fuel cell cathode shown as a square with a rainbow color table visualizing the overpotential in V. Fuel cell cathode model The local overvoltage in the cathode reactive layer of a fuel cell, modeled using the Hydrogen Fuel Cell interface.

Application Library Title:

fuel_cell_cathode

Download from the Application Gallery

Fuel Cell with Serpentine Flow Field

A fuel cell model with a winding flow field with the mole fraction shown in rainbow. Fuel cell model with serpentine flow field The oxygen mole fraction in a fuel cell with a serpentine flow field, modeled using the Reacting Flow multiphysics interface.

Application Library Title:

serpentine_flow_field

Download from the Application Gallery

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Electrolyzer

A PEM electrolyzer model showing the dispersed phase volume fraction in rainbow at 10 seconds. PEM electrolyzer model The gas volume fraction in a polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyzer, modeled using the Mixture Model, Laminar Flow interface.

Application Library Title:

pem_electrolyzer

Download from the Application Gallery

Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cell

A solid oxide electrolyzer cell modeled as a rectangle with the mole fraction shown in rainbow and the total flux shown as black streamlines with arrows. Solid oxide electrolyzer cell model The gas volume fraction in a polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyzer. A second example model is available that uses the Thermodynamics features to automatically define the properties of the cathode gas mixture.

Application Library Title:

soec

Download from the Application Gallery

Mass Transport Analysis of a High-Temperature PEM Fuel Cell

A model of a high-temperature PEM fuel cell with the mole fraction shown in rainbow. PEM fuel cell mass transport analysis Water mole fraction on the anode and cathode in the cell, modeled using the Reacting Flow multiphysics interface.

Application Library Title:

ht_pem

Download from the Application Gallery

Ohmic Losses and Temperature Distribution in a Passive PEM Fuel Cell

A passive PEM fuel cell model with the temperature shown in the heat camera color table and degrees Kelvin. Passive PEM fuel cell model The temperature in a PEMFC, modeled using the Electrochemical Heating multiphysics coupling.

Application Library Title:

passive_pem

Download from the Application Gallery