Simulation Software for Fuel Cell Development Released by CD Apapco

With increasing environmental concerns and rising oil costs, fuel cells are attracting great interest for transportation and power generation applications as a cleaner and cheaper alternative. In recognition of this, the CD adapco Group in partnership with the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), has developed a new Expert System, es-sofc, which is playing an important role in optimizing SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) design.

Fuel cells convert the chemical energy of a fuel, such as hydrogen, into electrical energy without combustion, with little or no emission of pollutants and efficient electrical power generation. This is a significant improvement over internal combustion engines. The new es-sofc tool is Ågknowledge basedÅh, carrying with it the essential electrochemistry, fluid flow, heat transfer, and geometrical modeling capabilities required for advanced SOFC design.

es-sofc works with the CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) solver STAR-CD, as a specialized virtual design, prototyping and testing environment. Typical issues that can be handled include: correcting the distributions of fuel and oxidant to the stack, mitigation of excessive thermal gradients along with temperature prediction for the calculation of thermally induced stresses, and manifold/flow passage optimization. These aspects together with gaining a better understanding of the electrochemistry and thermal properties involved, lead to optimized solid oxide fuel cell performance.

According to Gary McVay, who oversees fuel cell development at PNNL, “ As a national lab, our role in the development of solid-oxide-fuel-cell technology is to create the knowledge base and tools that assist industry in meeting production goals. Commercialization of modeling tools with a company such as the CD adapco Group is an important part of our overall mission.

For more information about fuel cells, click here.

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