A Feasibility Study of an Auxiliary Power Unit Based on a PEM Fuel Cell for On-Board Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Michele Bagnoli, Bruno Belvedere, Michele Bianchi, Andrea De Pascale

 University of Bologna-DIEM, viale Risorgimento 2, Bologna, 40136, Italy

Alberto Borghetti, Mario Paolone

 University of Bologna-DIE, viale Risorgimento 2, Bologna, 40136, Italy

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 3(4), 445-451 (Mar 27, 2006) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2349527 History: Received November 30, 2005; Revised March 27, 2006

Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells show characteristics of high power density, low operating temperature, and fast start-up capability, which make them potentially suitable to replace conventional power sources (e.g., internal combustion engines) as auxiliary power units (APU) for on-board applications. This paper presents a methodology for a preliminary investigation on either sizing and operating management of the main components of an on-board power system composed by: (i) PEM fuel cell, (ii) hydrogen storage subsystem, (iii) battery, (iv) grid interface for the connection to an external electrical power source when available, and (v) electrical appliances and auxiliaries installed on the vehicle. A model able to reproduce the typical profiles of electric power requests of on-board appliances and auxiliaries has been implemented in a computer program. The proposed methodology helps also to define the sizing of the various system components and to identify the fuel cell operating sequence, on the basis of the above mentioned load profiles.

Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Main components and energy fluxes of the considered energy system

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Figure 2

Scheme of the electric system

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Figure 3

Flow chart of the proposed procedure

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Figure 4

FC start-up logic as a function of the battery stored energy level

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Figure 5

FC power output as a function of battery SOC. The values of PFC and B are normalized with respect to FC rated power P0.

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Figure 6

Probability distributions of DC loads

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Figure 7

Probability distributions of AC utilities

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Figure 8

Load profile and generated power production for the case of a 1kW FC and for the case of a 5 kW FC. Dotted line: minimum FC size (2kW) for covering the total energy request with a constant power output

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Figure 9

Net energy amount provided by the battery (for the case of 1kW FC, 2kW FC, and 5kW FC)

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Figure 10

Battery required capacity (mean value over 1000 different load profiles)

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Figure 11

Number of FC startups (mean value over 1000 different load profiles)

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Figure 12

Peak shaving effect of load delay and reduction

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Figure 13

Peak shaving effect on battery size (threshold for load shedding equal to 4kW)

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Figure 14

FC hydrogen consumption and H2 storage system weight (without load management)

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Figure 15

FC based APU weight reduction with respect to a simple battery unit




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