top of page

Modeling of PEM Fuel cell in MATLAB

Modeling of PEM Fuel cell in MATLAB


Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs) are advanced energy conversion devices that efficiently produce electricity through electrochemical reactions. In this article, we delve into the modeling and simulation of a PEMFC to understand its working principles and characteristics

Working Principles of PEMFC

A PEMFC consists of a catalyst layer, a proton exchange membrane, and two input sides for hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen undergoes a reaction at the catalyst layer, leading to the splitting of hydrogen atoms into protons and electrons. Protons move through the membrane to the cathode, while electrons flow through an external load. The combination of protons and electrons results in the formation of water (H2O). This process makes PEMFCs a clean and efficient source of power.

Mathematical Model

The PEMFC mathematical model involves several equations representing different voltage components. These components include the reversible voltage, activation voltage, ohmic voltage, and concentration voltage. Each voltage component depends on various parameters such as temperature, pressure of hydrogen and oxygen, fuel cell current, and more.

The mathematical model equations are as follows:

  1. Reversible Voltage Equation: Describes the reversible voltage as a function of temperature, pressure, and fuel cell current.

  2. Activation Voltage Equation: Represents the activation voltage based on fuel cell current and the pressure of carbon dioxide.

  3. Ohmic Voltage Equation: Relates the ohmic voltage to the contact resistance and current density.

  4. Concentration Voltage Equation: Governs the concentration voltage based on current density and maximum current density.

These equations, along with additional parameters like membrane thickness, cell area, and temperature, form the foundation of the PEMFC model.

Simulation Setup

For simulation purposes, a MATLAB script is utilized to implement the mathematical model. The script considers a fuel cell stack with specific characteristics such as the number of cells, cell area, and length. The simulation involves varying the current from 0 to the maximum current and plotting the fuel cell voltage and power.

Simulation Results

The simulation results depict the voltage-current (VI) and power-current (PI) characteristics of the PEMFC. The VI curve showcases the voltage output corresponding to different current values, while the PI curve illustrates the power generated by the fuel cell under varying loads.


Modeling and simulating PEMFCs are essential steps in understanding their behavior and optimizing their performance. The presented MATLAB script provides a practical tool for researchers and engineers to explore the characteristics of PEMFCs and assess their efficiency under different operating conditions.

Further Exploration

To enhance the model and simulation, researchers can:

  1. Parameter Tuning: Adjust parameters such as membrane thickness, cell area, and temperature to observe their impact on fuel cell performance.

  2. Dynamic Simulation: Extend the model to incorporate dynamic factors, simulating transient responses during changes in load or operating conditions.

  3. Experimental Validation: Validate the simulation results by comparing them with experimental data from real PEMFC systems.

In conclusion, the modeling and simulation of PEMFCs contribute to the ongoing efforts to advance clean energy technologies. Researchers can utilize these tools to gain insights into fuel cell behavior and work towards optimizing their efficiency for practical applications

11 views0 comments


bottom of page