This paper develops a 3D dynamic model for polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs also called PEM fuel cells) and investigates the internal physicochemical processes that occur during PEFC transients as well as fuel cell dynamic responses. This model couples various dynamic mechanisms in the key components of PEFC, such as electrochemical double-layer discharging/charging, species transport, heat transfer, and membrane water uptake. The model is further discretized for 3D numerical simulations with focus on transient operation upon the step change in power density. The numerical results show that over/undershoot dynamic responses may take place during transient. A detailed picture of internal operating conditions, such as water and current density distributions, is presented to develop a comprehensive understanding of fuel cell transient during power/load variation.

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