A detailed dynamic model incorporating geometric resolution of a molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) with dynamic simulation of physical and electrochemical processes in the stream-wise direction is presented. The model was developed using mass and momentum conservation, electrochemical and chemical reaction mechanisms, and heat-transfer. Results from the model are compared with data from an experimental MCFC unit. Furthermore, the model was applied to predict dynamic variations of voltage, current and temperature in an MCFC as it responds to varying load demands. The voltage was evaluated using two different approaches: one applying a model developed by Yuh and Selman [C.Y. Yuh, J.R. Selman, The polarization of molten carbonate fuel cell electrodes: I. Analysis of steady-state polarization data, J. Electrochem. Soc. 138 (1991) 3642-3648; C.Y. Yuh, J.R. Selman, The polarization of molten carbonate fuel cell electrodes: II. Characterization by AC impedance and response to current interruption, J. Electrochem. Soc. 138 (1991) 3649-3655] and another applying simplified equations using average local temperatures and pressures. The results show that both models can be used to predict voltage and dynamic response characteristics of an MCFC and the model that uses the more detailed Yuh and Selman approach can predict those accurately and consistently for a variety of operating conditions. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.