FLUENT™, a commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) package, has been modified to include fuel cell electrochemistry. The model is being developed to account for three loss mechanisms present in fuel cells: ohmic overpotential, concentration overpotential, and electrochemical overpotential, each capable of temperature dependency. Because we envision this model to be applied to a wide range of geometries, the present model is also being developed to directly assess the electric potential field. This paper presents some preliminary results from the present model, and provides a summary status of our development.
The main results from the present study arise from an analysis of a single monolithic SOFC geometry. Several cases were analyzed in order to generate a typical steady-state V-I curve for the cell, which summarizes its performance. Results on the detailed distribution of various conserved quantities are also presented. The preliminary results are encouraging, and show that for the geometry under study, simple scale-up relations may hold. Additionally, the newly developed tool no longer requires the modeler to manually input approximate current flow information, which will be seen to be of great benefit in fuel cell analysis.