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World Electric Vehicle Journal is published by MDPI from Volume 9 issue 1 (2018). Articles in this Issue were published by The World Electric Vehicle Association (WEVA) and its member the European Association for e-Mobility (AVERE), the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), and the Electric Vehicle Association of Asia Pacific (EVAAP). They are hosted by MDPI on mdpi.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with AVERE.
Open AccessArticle

Dynamic Simulator and Controls for a PEM Fuel Cell Power System

Mechanical Engineering Department, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36848
World Electr. Veh. J. 2008, 2(3), 219-235; https://doi.org/10.3390/wevj2030219
Published: 26 September 2008
PDF [1615 KB, uploaded 18 May 2018]

Abstract

Controls of a PEM fuel cell stack are one of the crucial issues for securing efficient and durable operations of the stack. When the air is excessively supplied, the efficiency of the system drops. Conversely, insufficient supply of the air causes oxygen starvation at a dynamically varying load. In particular, proper cooling strategy ensures rejecting heat produced and prevents any thermal stress on thin layers of cells. Excessive cooling decreases the working temperature and consequently drops efficiency of the stack. In contrast, the thermal stress imposed by insufficient cooling may reduce the lifespan of the layers.
Design of controls needs a model for the plant that sufficiently represents its dynamics. Current models available are either empirical or computationally intensive, which do not allow for analysis of a stack behavior and associated controls. The paper addresses development of a high dynamic model for a stack that is based on transport of charges, flow of fuels and byproducts taken into temperature effects. The stack is constructed with single cells composed of sandwiched multiple layers that are thermally and electrically coupled. Air is supplied by a blower, which voltage is regulated. Two representing control strategies for the air supply system are designed and compared. Heat is rejected by a thermal circuit that consists of a pump, a three-way valve, and a radiator with a fan and a reservoir. In order to control the coolant flow rate, a linear cascade and a state feedback control are designed and compared, which includes a feed-forward function that is derived from load profile. In addition, the temperature effect on air flow rate is compensated, so that a deviation of the oxygen excess ratio can be suppressed.
The dynamics and performance of the designed controllers are evaluated and analyzed by simulations using dynamic fuel cell system models at a multi-step current and a current profile measured at the Federal Urban Driving Schedule. The results show that the control strategy proposed reduces not only temperature rise in the catalyst layer but also the parasitic power needed for operation of the air and coolant pumps maintaining the oxygen excess ratio set.
Keywords: PEMFC; Dynamic Models; Air Supply System; Thermal Circuit; Controls PEMFC; Dynamic Models; Air Supply System; Thermal Circuit; Controls
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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Choe, S.-Y. Dynamic Simulator and Controls for a PEM Fuel Cell Power System. World Electr. Veh. J. 2008, 2, 219-235.

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