A quasi three-dimensional dynamic model of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) has been developed and evaluated by comparison to experimental data. A single PEMFC cell is discretized into 245 control volumes in three dimensions to resolves local voltage response, current generation, species mole fractions, temperature, and membrane hydration spatially in the PEMFC. The model can further simulate transients in electrical load, inlet flow conditions, ambient conditions, and/or other parameters to provide insight into the local dynamic performance of a PEMFC. The quasi three-dimensional model has been validated against an experimental single cell. To compare the model, polarization constants were tuned to match one experimental operating point of the fuel cell. With this tuning, the model is shown to predict well the voltage current (V-I) behavior for the full range of cell operating current. Further, model comparison to an instantaneous increase in current indicates that the model can predict the transient electrochemical response of the PEMFC. This suggests such a model can be utilized for PEMFC system development, transient analysis of a PEMFC in general, as well as transient control design.

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