Dynamic Models for PEM Fuel Cells (PEMFC)


Caisheng Wang and M. Hashem Nehrir






A physically-based dynamic model for a PEM Fuel Cell (PEMFC) stack has been developed at Montana State University using MATLAB/SIMULINK. An equivalent electrical circuit model for the same PEMFC stack has also been developed using PSpice. Both models have been validated with experimental data obtained on a 500-W Avista (now Relion) PEMFC stack. The models can be used in studies related to PEMFC performance evaluation, controller design, fuel cell vehicles, stand-alone and grid-connected (distributed) fuel cell power plants, to name a few.

The above models are based upon work supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0135229.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.



PEMFC Model Description


The MATLAB/SIMULINK simulator is most appropriate for system level studies such as controller design, parameter sensitivity analysis, and determining the effect of load transients on fuel cell performance.  The PSpice equivalent electrical circuit simulator is developed for circuit level simulation studies and controller design. The details of model development and its application in fuel cell distributed generation (FCDG) studies have been reported in the following papers.


C. Wang, M.H. Nehrir, and S.R. Shaw, “Dynamic Models and Model Validation for PEM Fuel Cells using Electrical Circuits,” IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp 442-451, June 2005.


C. Wang, M.H. Nehrir and H. Gao, “Control of PEM Fuel Cell Distributed Generation Systems,” IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 586-595, June 2006.



We ask that those who use the models for research or education acknowledge their use when reporting their works. Although the models have worked successfully, it is understood that the users will use them at their own will, and the above authors and Montana State University accept no responsibility regarding the operation of the models. These models are intended for educational and research use only, and by downloading the files the users agree that they will not use the models for commercial purposes.




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