Modelling to Design Better Fuel Cells

PUMA MIND, a new international collaborative project, has been initiated to bringing a radical change in the way that fuel cells are modelled.
Feb. 18, 2013 - PRLog -- PUMA MIND, consortium of European and Canadian scientists, is setting out to advance the state of knowledge in designing new tools for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs) and bring them closer to technical and economic viability.

Among the problems that need to be solved before fuel cells can become common in the marketplace are increasing the durability of their materials. PEMFCs are very complex nonlinear systems and the project aims to apply powerful mathematical models in order to improve their durability, efficiency and to reduce the cost and development time. The mathematical models will be used for command and control and offer predictive capabilities, and therefore their robustness is crucial. The novel mathematical models will then be experimentally tested work in order to ensure the applicability on commercial attainable components and catalysts.

This ambitious project is supported by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission in the context of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) public private partnership. It has a budget of €4.1 million over 3 years and the consortium comprises the following eleven organisations:

1.  Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA), France (Co-ordinator)

2.     German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany

3.     University of Salerno (UNISA), Italy

4.     Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain

5.     Offenburg University of Applied Sciences (HSO), Germany

6.     École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (ENSL), France

7.     Institute for Energy and Transport (JRC), Belgium

8.     Simon Fraser University (SFU), Canada

9.     Vodera Ltd, UK

10. IDIADA Automotive Technology SA, Spain

11. CNRS/ Laboratory of Reactivity and Chemistry of Solids (LRCS), France

For the first time in the PEMFC community, a project tackles the lack of understanding of the cell operation as a multiscale system, from the material to the system level. The approach, consisting in building up a diagnostic and control-dedicated physical model with prediction capabilities, enables:

·       reduction of the amount of experiments (and thus the cost) currently needed to build up classical empirical models with limited prediction capabilities;

·  a better targeting of experimental characterisations in representative conditions of the end user application;

·   new operation strategies reducing the performance degradation and also strategies to improve the stability of the materials and components;

·      integration at EU level of modelling efforts usually developed separately. This will be done with the development of a modelling platform for more efficient communication and coordination for higher impact of the use of modelling on the PEMFC optimization in engineering practice.

All the above will contribute on placing Europe at the forefront of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies worldwide, thereby allowing market forces to realise the substantial benefits.

“PUMA MIND is a very challenging project, not only from the point of view of model development, but also for the experimental validation of the basic mechanisms and hypothesis”, emphasises Mr Pascal Schott PUMA MIND’s co-ordinator and specialist in thermal, fluidic and electrochemical simulation of fuel cell stacks and membrane electrode assemblies.

“Project PUMA MIND brings together multi-scale expertise in modelling and analysis of PEM fuel cells that has the potential to significantly contribute in improving European knowledge on the performance and durability of PEM fuel cells for automotive applications” said Dr Nikolaos Lymperopoulos, project manager at Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

The project has aspiring plans for the dissemination and exploitation of its results. This includes technology roadmaping, the establishment of a PUMA MIND Interest Group and a programme of workshops designed to inform practitioners and researchers who are likely to become early adopters of the technologies. PUMA MIND will also feed directly into education. Knowledge and technical skills built throughout the project will be incorporated into a range of courses and influence the university curricula of the academic partners for the benefit of the student communities, and ultimately the organisations eventually employing them.

To keep up-to-date with the project’s news please visit
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Tags:Fuel Cells, Pemfc, Simulation, Modelling, Automotive
Industry:Fuel cells, Automotive
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