October 26, 2021 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. EDT

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COMSOL Day: Battery Technology

Modeling batteries, fuel cells, and electrolyzers for transport mobility

Batteries have long been the unit used to store power before using it at some time in the future when needed. Fuel cells, though, are starting to see a resurgence, as they are also becoming a popular power-storing source; namely utilizing hydrogen when and where you need it. One compact way to produce this hydrogen, often closely associated with the operation of an accompanying fuel cell, is through an electrolyzer. All three units rely on the electrochemistry and electrochemical kinetics at electrode surfaces, while other properties of these systems vary greatly. These can be transport processes, cooling requirements, and the structural integrity of such systems.

This COMSOL Day will provide COMSOL Multiphysics® users and those new to the COMSOL® software keynote and technical presentations; a panel discussion; and software demonstrations within the modeling of operating batteries, fuel cells, and electrolyzers. Access to applications engineers will allow you the chance to answer specific questions while you learn about software features and best practices. Some of the sessions will be about the features and modules available in COMSOL Multiphysics® for the modeling of these systems, while others will delve deeper into some of the underlying physics that need to be considered when modeling such.


10:30 a.m.

Please join us before the first presentation starts to settle in and make sure that your audio and visual capabilities are working.

11:00 a.m.
Welcoming Remarks
11:05 a.m.

Eva Fontes, Intertek

The biggest challenges for battery design are to optimize energy density, power density, charging time, life, cost, safety, and sustainability. Modeling and simulation are very efficient methods that can assist researchers, developers, and designers in meeting these challenges. In the development of a cell design, the optimization of fundamental components of the cell (such as the electrodes, electrolyte, and separator), and the understanding of how their properties affect the performance and safety, can be accelerated using modeling and simulations. In the development of a battery design, the systems for thermal management, current collection, and state-of-health monitoring can also be developed with high-fidelity multiphysics simulations. During this talk, challenges for cell and battery design will be discussed and examples will be given of how they can be addressed with mathematical modeling.

11:30 a.m.
Parallel Session
Battery Simulation Apps

One of the challenges with battery development is to get an understanding of the fundamental electrochemical processes that may determine a battery's performance and life. When you have such an expansive field, there are simply not enough experts in the theory and mathematical modeling of electrochemical systems. The Application Builder allows for these experts to develop specific and tailored software for scientists and engineers that may lack the theoretical knowledge to set up their own models. In this way, a larger community of scientists and engineers may benefit from modeling and simulation of battery systems.

Thermal Management of Batteries & Fuel Cells

Thermal management is an important aspect across different automotive applications. Within vehicle electrification, thermal management is crucial, since batteries, fuel cells, and many other components produce heat and must be cooled as they work best within narrow temperature intervals. In this session, an overview of the features and benefits offered by COMSOL Multiphysics® to model thermal management of systems through convection and conduction will be demonstrated and presented. In particular, a demonstration of forced convective cooling will be shown.

12:00 p.m.
12:15 p.m.
Parallel Session
Introducing the Battery Design Module

The Battery Design Module is an add-on product to COMSOL Multiphysics® that includes predefined physics-based interfaces or models for modeling detailed structures in everything from battery porous electrodes to battery packs themselves. This includes modeling the behavior of a battery: electrochemical reaction kinetics, electric fields, chemical deposition, ionic transfer, electrical heat production, thermal stresses, conjugate heat transfer within the thermal management system, and more. In this session, we will present and demonstrate the features and physics interfaces of the Battery Design Module, demonstrating a few of them.

Introducing the Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module

COMSOL introduced the Fuel Cell & Electrolyzer Module in COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.6 to expand the sphere for modeling electric vehicles and energy conversion. This product can be used for modeling low- and high-temperature hydrogen fuel cells and water electrolyzers based on different operating parameters, such as proton exchange membranes (PEM), hydroxide exchange (alkaline) membranes, molten carbonates, and solid oxides. In this session, we will present and demonstrate simulations of electrochemical reactions, electrolyte charge transport, gas-phase mass transport, and convective flow, as well as two-phase water/gas transport.

12:45 p.m.
1:00 p.m.
Parallel Session
Introduction to COMSOL Multiphysics® for New Users

Learn the fundamental workflow of COMSOL Multiphysics®. This introductory demonstration will show you all of the key modeling steps, including geometry creation, setting up physics, meshing, solving, and postprocessing.

1:40 p.m.
Welcome Back: Some Useful Resources
1:45 p.m.

As the world shifts away from fossil fuels, efficient energy storage becomes more crucial, and investments in research toward improving battery technology will continue to grow. This panel will focus on the current state of simulation in battery technology and explore the potential for simulation to increase in scope and impact.


  • Ralph E. White, University of South Carolina
  • Taylor Garrick, General Motors
  • Saeed Khaleghi Rahimian, SERES
  • Xiaotong Chadderdon, Energizer


  • David Kan, COMSOL
2:30 p.m.
Parallel Session
Simplified and Lumped Battery Models

The level of sophistication in a battery system model depends on the purpose of the battery model. Microscopic models are highly sophisticated and aimed at detailed understanding of the heart of the battery. A model used for the control of a battery pack as a part of an electric vehicle drivetrain may not and cannot have the same degree of sophistication. In this session, we discuss lightweight, lumped models for modeling larger systems that incorporate battery packs.

Optimizing Fuel Cells, Batteries, and Supercapacitors for Automotive Applications

Understanding processes, testing new ideas, and virtually prototyping new designs are all within the wheelhouse of performing simulations when developing new technology for the vehicle electrification industry. However, once certain designs and desired performances have been decided upon, optimizing such to ensure maximum performance and quality is also important, and draws largely from the use of simulation. In this session, we will discuss how to use numerical optimization techniques to improve components, processes, and operating parameters in electric-driven vehicles.

3:00 p.m.
3:15 p.m.
Parallel Session
Battery Degradation

Battery systems are often burdened by unwanted side reactions at the electrodes. The Battery Design Module, an add-on product to COMSOL Multiphysics®, can be used to simulate various aging and degradation mechanisms and the resulting capacity fade in batteries. In doing so, the design engineer can investigate battery degradation impact on charge and discharge cycles, as well as self-discharge.

Any arbitrary by-reaction, such as hydrogen and oxygen evolution, the growth of a solid electrolyte interface due to deposition, metal plating, metal corrosion, and graphite oxidation can be included in your existing battery model through the flexibility built within the Battery Design Module.

In this session, we will present and demonstrate the capabilities of this module to model degradation in batteries and the process of building and running a capacity fade model.

Multiphase Flow and Transport Processes in Electrochemical Cells

While much to do with modeling electrochemical cells is determined by the electrochemical reaction characteristics, current density distribution, and heat transfer, we should not forget that fluid flow and transport processes are just as important. They deliver and remove species from reacting sites and cool (or sometimes heat) electrochemical cells to maintain optimal operational capacity and safety requirements. In this presentation, we will investigate reacting flow, porous media flow, two-phase flow models, electrochemical heating, and species transport using various example models.

4:00 p.m.
Concluding Remarks

COMSOL Speakers

Johan Sundqvist
VP of Sales - NW USA
Johan Sundqvist is COMSOL's vice president of sales for the northwestern region of the United States. He joined COMSOL in 2000 and received his MSc in chemical engineering from Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.
Lauren Sansone
Marketing and Events Director
Lauren Sansone is the marketing and events director at COMSOL, Inc. and has been with COMSOL since 2006. She is responsible for the global event marketing of COMSOL Days, the COMSOL Conference, exhibitions, and training.
Beatrice Carasi
Applications Engineer
Beatrice Carasi currently works as an applications engineer in the COMSOL Italian office, where she is also part of the local support team. Previously, she studied mechanical engineering at Politecnico di Milano and received her MS degree specializing in fluids engineering. She joined COMSOL in 2013.
Henrik Ekström
Technology Manager, Electrochemistry
Henrik Ekström is the technology manager for electrochemistry at COMSOL. Prior to joining COMSOL in 2010, Henrik worked at various fuel cell startup firms in Sweden. He received his PhD in chemical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.
Niloofar Kamyab
Senior Applications Engineer
Niloofar Kamyab is a senior applications engineer at COMSOL with a focus on electrochemistry, including batteries and fuel cells. She received her PhD in chemical engineering from the University of South Carolina, where her research focused on the mathematical modeling of battery systems.
Ed Fontes
Ed Fontes is the chief technology officer at COMSOL. He has been with COMSOL since 1999, and was previously the lead developer for the CFD, heat transfer, and chemical engineering products. He received his PhD in chemical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.
Mranal Jain
Senior Applications Engineer
Mranal Jain has been with COMSOL since 2013 and currently leads the applications team in the Los Altos, CA office. He studied microfluidics and electrokinetic transport, while pursuing his PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.
David Kan
Vice President of Sales
David Kan is COMSOL's vice president of sales for the southwestern region of the US. He set up the Los Angeles branch office of COMSOL in 2001 and received a PhD in applied mathematics from UCLA in 1999.
Andrzej Bielecki
Applications Engineer
Andrzej Bielecki is an applications engineer at COMSOL with a focus on CFD. He graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Prior to joining COMSOL, he worked as an application engineer designing needle and track roller bearings for the aerospace industry.

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COMSOL Day Details

Local Start Time:
October 26, 2021 | 11:00 a.m. EDT (UTC-04:00)
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Invited Speakers & Panelists

Eva Fontes Intertek

Dr. Eva Fontes is the Director of Transportation Technologies North Europe at Intertek, a COMSOL Certified Consultant. Eva received her PhD in applied electrochemistry at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. Over the past 20 years, she has specialized in testing and advisory services related to battery technology.

Ralph E. White University of South Carolina

Dr. Ralph E. White is a professor of chemical engineering and a distinguished scientist at the University of South Carolina. He received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley under Professor John Newman. He taught at Texas A&M University before moving to the University of South Carolina, where he has served as a professor, the chair of the department, and the dean of the college. Dr. White has authored or coauthored 350 peer-reviewed journal articles. He and his research group are working on projects on batteries, fuel cells, and numerical methods. Their work on numerical methods consists of developing efficient algorithms for solving the equations that represent the phenomena that occur in electrochemical and chemical systems. He has received the Olin Palladium, Vittorio de Nora, and Henry B. Linford awards from the Electrochemical Society.

Taylor Garrick General Motors

Taylor Garrick is an electrochemical engineer in the Virtual Design, Development, and Validation organization within General Motors, where he focuses on the development of models that accurately represent the batteries in General Motors’ electrified portfolio. Taylor’s research encompasses the development and validation of mathematical models at multiple scales for electrochemical systems, specifically focused on the interplay between stress and strain within a battery at the particle, electrode, and cell levels. He is a member of the Industrial Electrochemistry and Electrochemical Engineering division of the Electrochemical Society. He graduated with a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of South Carolina.

Saeed Khaleghi Rahimian SERES

Saeed Khaleghi Rahimian is currently the technical lead of the battery technology group at SERES (formerly SF Motors) working on testing and modeling of commercial Li-ion cells to develop and validate algorithms for battery management systems (BMS). He and his team have published more than ten US patents and three academic papers in the past three years. Prior to SERES, he was a senior battery engineer at A123 Systems working on life modeling of Li-ion cells to predict calendar and cycle life of batteries for warrantee purposes and BMS applications. He also has three years of experience developing physics-based mathematical models for cell chemistries beyond Li-ion during his postdoctoral fellowships at Columbia University and University of Michigan. He graduated from University of South Carolina in 2012 with a PhD in chemical engineering under the supervision of Professor Ralph White.

Xiaotong Chadderdon Energizer

Xiaotong Chadderdon is a senior engineer at Energizer, where she works on developing electrochemical models, as well as analyzing and delivering simulation results to support primary alkaline battery development. She has experience using multiphysics simulation to study interactions of chemical, electrochemical, thermal, and fluid dynamics processes in battery and electroplating applications. She received her PhD in chemical engineering from Iowa State University.