Simulation tool: COMSOL Multiphysics

Software: COMSOL Multiphysics®: Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module
Technique: Simulation
Contact person (UNINOVA): Pedro Barquinha (pmcb@fct.unl.pt), Inês Cunha (i.cunha@campus.fct.unl.pt)
Responsibles: Manuel J. Mendes (mj.mendes@fct.unl.pt), Inês Fernandes (isd.fernandes@campus.fct.unl.pt)

Description: Simulation platform that provides fully coupled multiphysics and single-physics modeling capabilities. It includes all the steps in the modelling workflow — from defining geometries, material properties and the physics that describe specific phenomena to solving and postprocessing models for producing accurate results.
Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module is an add-on to the COMSOL Multiphysics® software for designing and optimizing electrochemical cells. The types of systems that may be studied include proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), hydroxide exchange (alkaline) fuel cells (AFCs) and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), as well as the corresponding water electrolyzer systems (it accommodates all types of fuel cells and electrolyzers). Multiphysics capabilities are built into this software, such as multiphase fluid flow, heat transfer, thermodynamics properties, and more.


  • Prebuilt user interface combinations that define a set of equations together with settings for mesh generation, solvers, and results.
  • The space-dependent simulations (1D, 2D, and 3D) account for ohmic losses (Primary Current Distribution); ohmic and activation losses (Secondary Current Distribution); as well as ohmic, activation, and mass transport losses (Tertiary Current Distribution). These current distribution interfaces are used in combination with porous electrodes, gas diffusion electrodes, or planar electrodes.
  • The transport equations, the Nernst–Planck Equations, are combined with the Electroneutrality Condition or Poisson’s Equation.
  • The Electrode Equilibrium Potentials for the electrode reactions of the chemical species are computed, and thereby, the Cell Equilibrium Potential, when their composition and their reference partial pressures are defined.
  • The electrode kinetics are defined using the Tafel Equation, the Butler–Volmer Equation, or with arbitrary functions of the overpotential and the concentration of chemical species (multiple reactions may be defined on an electrode surface).
  • The mixture, bubbly flow, and Euler–Euler models for dispersed multiphase flows, as well as single-phase transport in porous media, allow the modeling of multiphase flow in porous media (electrodes) as well as in open free media (channels).
  • Heat sources and sinks, originated from electrochemical reactions, transport of ions and chemical species, as well as current conduction, are added automatically in a heat transfer analysis.
  • Predefined hydrogen fuel cells models, such as PEMFC, AFC, PAFC, SOFC, MCFC, and high-temperature PEMFC. These models account for the electrodes, electrolyte, as well as current collectors, and feeders.
  • Predefined water electrolyzers models, with the same considered features as for the hydrogen fuel cells (electrodes, electrolyte, current collectors, and feeders).
  • Predefined gas diffusion electrodes models, where the fluid flow is defined for the gas channels and for the porous structures using the Brinkman Equations for free and porous media flow, with the charge balance in the electrolyte (separator), and in the pore electrolyte (the electrolyte in the active layer or in the GDE), coupled to the transport equations in the gas phase through the electrochemical reactions and the Faraday’s Law.

Link for additional information: https://www.comsol.com/fuel-cell-and-electrolyzer-module