Realistic simulation for real-world challenges

Fuel Cell Durability and Degradation

Our simulation toolchain saves you time and money, while driving quality and efficiency

Fuel cell technology is fast proving to be a realistic alternative to conventional combustion-based powertrains. When developing fuel cells, you must consider many different domains, including control function calibration, material design, vehicle performance, integration and durability.

Attention must be paid to durability and degradation, to ensure a realistic lifespan of a fuel cell system. These issues are heavily influenced by multi-physics phenomena such a thermal, electrical, hydration and mechanical stress factors. You need a specific methodology and the appropriate test automation approach – fully supported by virtualization – in order to fully identify and understand these factors, their impact and their cross influences. This is the only way you can tackle such complex investigations, without the reliance on expensive prototypes which can be easily damaged by such activities.

At AVL, we have developed a software toolchain to support you in just these sorts of activities.

The AVL Approach

Our multi-disciplinary simulation and virtual testing technologies support your durability-related verification and calibration activities. They help you quantify potential stress factors at all system levels – from component to vehicle – right at the earliest stages of development. You can then use these stress factors to automatically define your verification programme, including accelerated loading conditions on component or fuel cell system testbeds.

Our automation software serves multiple purposes. It ensures, on one hand, that your operation is secure, and protects your valuable and rare fuel cell prototypes. On the other hand, it allows you to identify the thermal, electrical or humidity factors that cause degradation phenomena to begin.

You can test your fuel cell systems under all kinds of conditions, to see which trigger such phenomena. And you can automate these activities to ensure quality and save time. Test conditions that trigger such events can be completely automated for precise control. They can be created seamlessly with the help of a virtual Balance of Plant (BOP), a cooling circuit simulation or virtual emulation of any other subsystem integrated into the real testbed environment. You can then conduct stack lifetime prediction investigations, diagnostic function development and calibration, even if only some hardware components are available for testing.

Real Time Investigations

At AVL we also have solutions which allow you to run vehicle and powertrain simulations in real time. You can fully integrate these tools into our Automation Software for Fuel Cell testbed, to enable the accurate reproduction of real-world operating conditions.

This allows you to adapt stress factors such as thermal loads or humidity cycles, in order to consider other powertrain subsystem models, including the e-axle and battery. Tool consistency, reusable methodologies, and process efficiencies further support your efforts, enabling you to avoid over-engineered countermeasures, save time and reduce costs, by conducting realistic investigations.

We can even extend the power of our simulation toolchain further with the application of MOBEO, our virtualization approach. This has recently been updated to include seamless tool and application knowledge that is specific to fuel cell development. Integrated solutions that cover everything from office simulation to test automation, toolchain modularity and even the use of third-party tools, provide a holistic answer to fuel cell domain challenges. Decades of experience in developing unique and proven methodologies, supported by virtual testing, are now implemented and ready for your development and verification programs in the fuel cell domain.