Mathematical model of a proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell


This work presents a mathematical modelling of a proton-exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) system integrated with a resistive variable load. The model was implemented using MATLAB Simulink software, and it was used to calculate the fuel cell electric current and voltage at various steady-state conditions. The electric current was determined by the intersection of its polarisation curve and applied as an input value for the simulation of the PEM fuel cell performance. The model was validated using a Horizon H-500xp model fuel cell stack system, with the following main components: a 500 W PEM fuel cell, a 12 V at 12 A battery for the start-up, a super-capacitor bank to supply peak loads and a 48 V DC-DC boost converter. The generated power was dissipated by a variable resistive load. The results from the model shows a qualitative agreement with test bench results, with similar trends for stack current and voltage in response to load and hydrogen flow rate variation. The discrepancies ranged from 2% to 6%, depending on the load resistance applied. A controlled current source was utilised to simulate the variation of fan power consumption with stack temperature, ranging from 36.5 W at 23°C to 52 W at 65°C. Both model and experiments showed an overall PEMFC system maximum efficiency of about 48%.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Engineering and Technology > Mechanical, Biomedical & Design
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Institute of Urban Technology and the Environment (ASTUTE)
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI)
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Uncontrolled Keywords: Energy,Fuel cell,Hydrogen,Mathematical model,Simulation,Mechanical Engineering,Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes,Condensed Matter Physics
Publication ISSN: 2666-2027
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2024 16:44
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2021 08:27
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://linking ... 666202721000483 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-08
Published Online Date: 2021-08-02
Accepted Date: 2021-07-30
Authors: Omran, Abdelnasir
Lucchesi, Alessandro
Smith, David
Alaswad, Abed (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-7828-7924)
Amiri, Amirpiran (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-7838-3249)
Wilberforce, Tabbi (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-1250-1745)
Sodré, José Ricardo (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-2243-8719)
Olabi, A.G.

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