The Project

The openFuelCell project is a forum to develop open source computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to model fuel cells. Fuel cells are devices that convert hydrogen and oxygen to water and electricity, and are promising renewable energy conversion devices. Computational fluid dynamics tools are used to size and rate fuel cell systems. OpenFoam is an open source CFD toolbox, available for downloading at, written in C++ and conforming to the object-oriented paradigm.


The project is open to anybody who wishes to apply or produce open source fuel cell models. The founding members of the openFuelCell project are (in alphabetical order) Forschungszentrum J├╝lich, National Research Council Canada, Queen’s University/Royal Military College Fuel Cell Research Centre, and Wikki Ltd.


There are various types of fuel cells under development; at the present time the openFuelCell project is centred on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The first model to be released is a model of a single-cell SOFC operated in co-flow, counter-flow, or cross-flow with hydrogen and water on the fuel side, and dry air as the oxidant. It is envisaged that modules of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and other fuel cell designs will be added, in time. These could include stack level models (multiple fuel cells connected in series), micro-scale models for computing effective property values, and models where the full ionic and electronic electric potential fields are considered.


Any new or modified code features should fulfill the following criteria:

  • The code must conform to the general style and features of OpenFoam
  • Technical documentation of the software implementation must be provided
  • A scientific explanation of the feature(s) must be provided
  • The license type must be specified
  • The issuer must legally have or obtain the right to release the software.