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GENFC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 19814
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Germany

Fuel cell fever

A project focused on energy efficiency developed software to help technology stakeholders develop more efficient fuel cells. Outcomes will also allow for simulating their internal mechanics to improve energy efficiency.
Fuel cell fever
In the ongoing quest to find more efficient energy sources, fuel cells are showing a lot of potential. They can generate electricity from fossil fuels more efficiently and show promise in running on hydrogen among other cleaner fuels.

The EU-funded project 'Generic fuel cell modelling environment' (GENFC) investigated how to improve the modelling and development of fuel cells. It created open-source software that improved fuel-cell modelling and integration of cells into various systems. The project team used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to simulate gas and liquid interactions with the cells. In addition, it conducted two-dimensional simulation studies to understand pressure drop and air velocity within the cell, as well as to analyse the effect of air movement on droplets.

The developed software tool was able to successfully simulate the mechanics of a fuel cell. Moreover, the project was able to model fuel cells with hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) capabilities, useful for automotive industry applications, process engineering and development of fuel cell systems. Other fuel-cell modelling applications of the software were applied to cogeneration devices for producing hot water and electricity in buildings.

GENFC also considered ecological and economic aspects in its simulations, such as the life-cycle of equipment, as well as fuel input and electricity input in a given period. The final software developed consisted of a back end server and a graphical user front end, able to accommodate multiple users. It was released and disseminated as open-source software available without a license, complete with tutorials and a user manual. The software is set to help stakeholders exploit fuel cell technology as a solution for producing more efficient energy.

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