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Processes 2015, 3(2), 452-470; doi:10.3390/pr3020452

Design, Operation, Control, and Economics of a Photovoltaic/Fuel Cell/Battery Hybrid Renewable Energy System for Automotive Applications

1
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711, USA
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michael Henson
Received: 17 May 2015 / Accepted: 3 June 2015 / Published: 9 June 2015
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Abstract

Meeting rapidly growing global energy demand—without producing greenhouse gases or further diminishing the availability of non-renewable resources—requires the development of affordable low-emission renewable energy systems. Here, we develop a hybrid renewable energy system (HRES) for automotive applications—specifically, a roof-installed photovoltaic (PV) array combined with a PEM fuel cell/NiCd battery bus currently operating shuttle routes on the University of Delaware campus. The system’s overall operating objectives—meeting the total power demand of the bus and maintaining the desired state of charge (SOC) of the NiCd battery—are achieved with appropriately designed controllers: a logic-based “algebraic controller” and a standard PI controller. The design, implementation, and performance of the hybrid system are demonstrated via simulation of real shuttle runs under various operating conditions. The results show that both control strategies perform equally well in enabling the HRES to meet its objectives under typical operating conditions, and under sudden cloud cover conditions; however, at consistently high bus speeds, battery SOC maintenance is better, and the system consumes less hydrogen, with PI control. An economic analysis of the PV investment necessary to realize the HRES design objectives indicates a return on investment of approximately 30% (a slight, but nonetheless positive, ~$550 profit over the bus lifetime) in Newark, DE, establishing the economic viability of the proposed addition of a PV array to the existing University of Delaware fuel cell/battery bus. View Full-Text
Keywords: hybrid renewable energy system; fuel cell bus; PI control; photovoltaic; PEM fuel cell; NiCd battery; hydrogen; economic analysis hybrid renewable energy system; fuel cell bus; PI control; photovoltaic; PEM fuel cell; NiCd battery; hydrogen; economic analysis
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Whiteman, Z.S.; Bubna, P.; Prasad, A.K.; Ogunnaike, B.A. Design, Operation, Control, and Economics of a Photovoltaic/Fuel Cell/Battery Hybrid Renewable Energy System for Automotive Applications. Processes 2015, 3, 452-470.

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