Stability Issues of Fuel Cell Models in the Activation and Concentration Regimes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Code stability is a matter of concern for three-dimensional (3D) fuel cell models operating both at high current density and at high cell voltage. An idealized mathematical model of a fuel cell should converge for all potentiostatic or galvanostatic boundary conditions ranging from open circuit to closed circuit. Many fail to do so, due to (i) fuel or oxygen starvation causing divergence as local partial pressures and mass fractions of fuel or oxidant fall to near zero and (ii) nonlinearities in the Nernst and Butler-Volmer equations near open-circuit conditions. This paper describes in detail, specific numerical methods used to improve the stability of a previously existing fuel cell performance calculation procedure, at both low and high current densities. Four specific techniques are identified. A straight channel operating as a (i) solid oxide and (ii) polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell is used to illustrate the efficacy of the modifications.


  • S. B. Beale
  • U. Reimer
  • D. Froning
  • H. Jasak
  • M. Andersson
  • J. G. Pharoah
  • W. Lehnert
External organisations
  • Jülich Research Centre
  • Queen's University
  • RWTH Aachen University
  • University of Zagreb
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Mechanical Engineering


  • fuel cell, mass transfer, numerical stability, polymer electrolyte fuel cell, solid oxide fuel cell
Original languageEnglish
Article number041008
JournalJournal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Nov 1
Publication categoryResearch