New tool improves fuel cell design
Fuel cells using polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) technology are considered the best type of cells for replacing gasoline and diesel-powered cars in the near future. The EU-funded project 'Development of novel, efficient and validated software-based tools for PEM fuel cell component and stack designers' (Pemtool) aimed to support the advancement of PEM fuel cells (PEMFC). It worked on a software tool that monitors and controls the physical phenomena in a PEM to streamline the cell's performance, helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) improve PEMFC design. Importantly, Pemtool sought to speed up product development and reduce costs of development by up to 60 %, as well as improve PEMFC performance by up to 50 %. The project members conducted numerous experiments to determine performance of PEMFC components and map its properties in order to develop accurate software. It gathered extensive data on performance of various PEMFCs and fed the data into a commercially available multiphysics software package to create the tool in question. The Pemtool team gathered the most up-to-date information on PEMFCs to arrive at the ultimate software model. The project results have therefore increased available knowledge in the area and advanced the field of polymer electrolyte fuel cells significantly. This will undoubtedly help in achieving the project's primary vision, to design super efficient fuel cells that will one day power most vehicles on the road.