Free open reference implementation of a two-phase PEM fuel cell model

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In almost 30 years of PEM fuel cell modeling, countless numerical models have been developed in science and industrial applications, almost none of which have been fully disclosed to the public. There is a large need for standardization and establishing a common ground not only in experimental characterization of fuel cells, but also in the development of simulation codes, to prevent each research group from having to start anew from scratch. Here, we publish the first open standalone implementation of a full-blown, steady-state, non-isothermal two-phase model for low-temperature PEM fuel cells. It is based on macro-homogeneous modeling approaches and implements the most essential through-plane transport processes in a five-layer MEA. The focus is on code simplicity and compactness with only a few hundred lines of clearly readable code, providing a starting point for more complex model development. The model is implemented as a standalone MATLAB function, based on MATLAB's standard boundary value problem solver. The default simulation setup reflects wide-spread commercially available MEA materials. Operating conditions recommended for automotive applications by the European Commission are used to establish new fuel cell simulation base data, making our program a valuable candidate for model comparison, validation and benchmarking. Program summary: Program Title: MMM1D Program Files doi: Licensing provisions: BSD 3-clause Programming language: MATLAB Nature of problem: Steady-state, non-isothermal, two-phase simulation of the coupled through-plane transport of charge, heat and mass within the five-layer membrane electrode assembly of low-temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Solution method: MATLAB's boundary value problem solver bvp4c, a finite difference solver that implements the 3-stage Lobatto IIIa collocation method with automated mesh selection based on the residual. Additional comments: The complete source code and the license agreement can also be obtained from




Vetter, R., & Schumacher, J. O. (2019). Free open reference implementation of a two-phase PEM fuel cell model. Computer Physics Communications, 234, 223–234.

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