Publication Detail

Simulation and Performance of an Indirect Methanol PEM Fuel Cell System


Research Report

Suggested Citation:
Eggert, Anthony R., David J. Friedman, Joshua M. Cunningham, Sitaram Ramaswamy (2000) Simulation and Performance of an Indirect Methanol PEM Fuel Cell System. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RP-00-31

The goal of this paper is to describe the performance characteristics that might be expected from a realistic load following indirect methanol fuel cell system. The characterization of the indirect methanol fuel cell (IMFC) system is done using the simulation model developed by the Fuel Cell Vehicle Modeling Program (FCVMP) at the University of California, Davis. The basic components that exist within the model as well as the interactions between those components are investigated with respect to how they affect the steady state and dynamic operation of the system.

By investigating the steady state efficiencies, we find that the normalized peak efficiency for the system occurs around 5% of full power. This implies that, similar to the direct hydrogen system, low power operation will provide better system efficiency compared to higher power operation. While this tends to hold true, the magnitude of the benefit is unclear because steady state efficiencies can be misleading. For this reason, the dynamic efficiency of the system is analyzed over two drive cycles, the FUDS and the US06. Here we find that the dynamic efficiency is significantly below the expected steady state efficiency. For the system modeled, the dynamic efficiency is 10% lower than the steady-state efficiency on the FUDS and 14% lower for the US06 cycle. By investigating second by second averaged dynamic efficiency values of each component, we find that the reduced dynamic efficiency can be primarily attributed to the fuel processor.