Progress of Cryogenics and Isotopes Separation , ISSN: 1582-2575
2018, Volume 21, Issue 1

Performance evaluation of a PEM electrolyser using CFD modelling

Elena Carcadea 1* , Mihai Varlam 1 , Konstantin Petrov 1,2 , Catalin Jianu 1 , Daniela Ion-Ebrasu 1 , Laurentiu Patularu 1 , Mircea Raceanu 1 , Dorin Schitea 1

1 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
2 Academician Evgeni Budevski Institute of Electrochemistry and Energy Systems, Sofia, Bulgaria

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

Published: 2018


A three-dimensional, isothermal, multicomponent model was used for investigating the transport phenomena in a PEM electrolyser with a pin-type configuration for the bipolar plates.
The need to understand the complex phenomena that take place in such electrochemical device is motivated by the requirement to improve its performance and durability. ANSYS Multiphysics 17.0 with the Fuel Cell and Electrolysis Model has been used to solve the conservation of mass, momentum, species, energy and charge equations.
The 3D CFD model analysed the influence of some design and operating parameters (voltage, membrane thickness and CL active area) on the PEM electrolyser performance. An optimum membrane thickness (50 microns) was obtained in our numerical investigation and based on this result, the effect of the catalyst active area over the electrolysis performance and H2 generation rate have been taken into account. It has been shown that a higher active area of the catalyst can lead to an important increase of the electrolysis cell performance The results are discussed in the paper in terms of hydrogen generation (mass fraction contours and mass flow rate at exit) and by polarization curves.


PEM electrolyser, CFD modelling, hydrogen generation

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