Progress of Cryogenics and Isotopes Separation , ISSN: 1582-2575
2017, Volume 20, Issue 2

PEM electrolyzer – An important component of a backup emergency hydrogen-based power source

Elena Carcadea * , Mihai Varlam , Daniela Ion-Ebrasu , Laurentiu Patularu , Mircea Raceanu , Dorin Schitea

National Research and Development Institute for Cryogenics and Isotopic Technologies - ICSI Rm. Valcea, Uzinei Street no. 4, PO Box Râureni 7, 240050, Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania

*Corresponding author: Elena Carcadea, phone: 0250.732.744; fax: 0250.732.746; E-mail:

Published: 2017


A three-dimensional, single-phase, isothermal, multicomponent model was developed for investigating the transport phenomena in a PEM electrolyser with a pin-type configuration for the bipolar plates. ANSYS Multiphysics 17.0 with the Fuel Cell and Electrolysis Model has been used to solve the conservation of mass, momentum, species and charge equations.
The 3D CFD model analysed the influence of the pin type configuration and of voltage applied on the PEM electrolyser performance. The results are discussed in the paper in terms of species produced (hydrogen, oxygen) as mass fraction distributions and polarization curves. Our analysis was the first step in analysing a backup hydrogen-based power source by simulating an electrolysis cell. We intended to identify critical parameters and to give an insight into physical mechanisms that can influence a PEM electrolyser. Also, the aim of the study was to optimize some parameters in order to maximize the hydrogen production and to increase the electrolyser efficiency, as requested by the backup power system.


H2 technologies, PEM electrolyser, power source, backup system

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