Optimization of the air loop system in a hydrogen fuel cell for vehicle application

Santiago Martinez-Boggio, Davide Di Blasio, Tom Fletcher, Richard Burke, Antonio García, Javier Monsalve-Serrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


Hydrogen fuel cells are a potential route to decarbonize the automotive sector due to the zero CO2 tailpipe emissions, faster re-fuelling, and higher energy density than their direct competitor, the battery-electric powertrain. One of the key challenges is to find the best air path configuration to achieve high efficiency in a system level. This work aims to optimize, setup, and demonstrate a highly efficient Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell system (PEMFC). This powerplant is hydrogen fuelled and scalable to achieve the required power output for different vehicles. This work evaluates a PEMFC by a 1D-numerical approach. The fuel cell is modelled, validated, and later studied under different air inlet conditions. The main goal is the evaluation of different air path layouts to achieve the highest system efficiency. Numerical simulations of electric compressor and coupled and de-coupled electrically assisted turbocharging are performed with different component sizes and cathode pressures. Therefore, this work provides an overview of our initial findings that will outline the key modelling challenges for fuel cell systems and then present a comparison of different air-path architectures. The coupled electrically assisted turbocharger is determined to be the best layout with an improvement of 10% of the delivered power at a high current load. The e-turbocharging optimized by the proposed methodology allows reduction of the peak electric machine electric power by 60%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116911
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Early online date16 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Santiago Martinez-Boggio would like to thank the UPV for the program: Ayudas para la movilidad dentro de estancias de doctorado de la Universitat Politècnica de València (convocatoria vicerrectorado de investigación, innovación y transferencia 2021).

Data Availability
The authors do not have permission to share data


  • Air management
  • Fuel cell
  • Hydrogen vehicles
  • Turbomachinery
  • Hydrogen
  • Compressor
  • Turbocharging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Automotive Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimization of the air loop system in a hydrogen fuel cell for vehicle application'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this