The development of new optimised membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) with a very low platinum content is necessary in order to achieve the specified power density of 1 W cm-2 (1.5 Acm-2 at 0.675 V) for the automotive application of PEMFCs while maintaining marketable costs. As part of the project IMPACT, funded by the European Union, the novel MEA units are being developed specifically for use in the automotive sector. To start with, a complete fuel cell with its corresponding design was modelled using CFD simulation software (computational fluid dynamics), including all components and their material properties. The model used accounts for flow conditions in the distribution fields (see the chart), transport properties of porous materials and occurring electrochemical processes. Using material properties of standard commercially available MEAs, the cell performance values of reference materials were easily reproduced. In a second step, material properties as measured or adapted to the cell performance were used to reproduce the behaviour of the first project material generation. Based on this, characteristic material properties were varied within the model so that the targeted power density value was achieved in the simulation. The physical characteristics obtained from these variations are subsequently used to guide the development of MEAs.