Large-scale three-dimensional simulation of proton exchange membrane fuel cell considering detailed water transition mechanism

Biao Xie, Hanyang Zhang, Wenming Huo, Renfang Wang, Ying Zhu, Lizhen Wu, Guobin Zhang, Meng Ni, Kui Jiao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


It is of great significance to gain deeper and clearer understanding of the transport mechanism inside proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell under on-board conditions to propel its commercialization process. This study investigates detailed water transition mechanism in PEM fuel cell catalyst layer from the perspective of macroscale performance model. Full layout of single cell structure and variable operating conditions are considered. Six combinations of water transition mechanism are analyzed and a self-adaptive mechanism related with local vapor saturation state is proposed, which is determined and validated by comparing the simulation results with experimental data from commercial-level laboratory. The influence of simulation scale is also investigated by comparing calculation results of typical single-channel domain with practical single-cell domain. Results show that appropriate water transition mechanism equips the model with decent adaptability to multi-condition prediction. Single-channel simulation domain tends to gain misjudgment on water removal capability and could be used for preliminary evaluation. Full-scale single-cell simulation domain should be the first choice for structure designing work, especially under practical working condition. The proposed method serves as a potential solution to multi-condition simulation with good adaptability and fidelity, which is one of the urgent requirements for PEM fuel cell R&D.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120469
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Large-scale simulation
  • On-board condition
  • PEM fuel cell
  • Water transition mechanism
  • Wavy flow field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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