A comprehensive modeling method for proton exchange membrane electrolyzer development

TitleA comprehensive modeling method for proton exchange membrane electrolyzer development
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsMa Z, Witteman L, Wrubel JA, Bender G
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
KeywordsElectrochemical modeling, Hydrogen production, Low temperature electrolysis water splitting, Proton exchange membrane electrolysis cell

Hydrogen attracts significant interests as an effective energy carrier that can be derived from renewable sources. Hydrogen production using a proton-exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer can efficiently convert renewable power via water splitting in wide scales—from large, centralized generation to on-site production. Mathematical models with multiple scales and fidelities facilitate the continuing improvements of PEM electrolyzer development to improve performance, cost, and reliability. The model scopes and methods are presented in this paper, which also introduces a comprehensive PEM electrolysis modeling tool based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, ANSYS/Fluent. The modeling tool incorporates electrochemical model of a PEM electrolysis cell to simulate the performance of coupled thermal-fluid, species transport, and electrochemical processes in a product-scale cell or stack by leveraging the powerful meshing generation and CFD solver of ANSYS/Fluent. The thermal-fluid modeling includes liquid water/gas two-phase flow and simulates a PEM electrolysis cell by using Fluent user-defined functions as add-on modules accounting for PEM-specific species transport and electrochemical processes. The modeling outcomes expediate PEM electrolyzer scaling up from basic material development and laboratory testing.


Special issue on the 2nd International Symposium on Hydrogen Energy and Energy Technologies (HEET 2019)