Research Papers

Sensitivity Analysis of a 2.5kW Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Stack by Statistical Method

[+] Author and Article Information
N. Rajalakshmi1

Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, (ARC-International), 120, Mambakkam Main Road, Medavakkam, Chennai 601302, Indialakshmiraja2003@yahoo.com

G. Velayutham, K. S. Dhathathreyan

Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, (ARC-International), 120, Mambakkam Main Road, Medavakkam, Chennai 601302, India


Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 6(1), 011003 (Nov 03, 2008) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2971053 History: Received April 28, 2007; Revised July 14, 2008; Published November 03, 2008

This paper describes the application of statistical analysis to a 2.5kW proton exchange membrane fuel cell stack operation, by experimental design methodology, whereby robust design conditions were identified for the operation of fuel cell stacks. The function is defined as the relationship between the fuel cell power and the operating pressure and stoichiometry of the reactants. Four types of control factors, namely, the pressures of the fuel and oxidant and the flow rates of the fuel and oxidant, are considered to select the optimized conditions for fuel cell operation. All the four factors have two levels, leading a full factorial design requiring 24 experiments leading to 16 experiments and fractional factorial experiments, 241, leading to 8 experiments. The experimental data collected were analyzed by statistical sensitivity analysis by checking the effect of one variable parameter on the other. The mixed interaction between the factors was also considered along with main interaction to explain the model developed using the design of experiments. The robust design condition for maximum fuel cell performance was found to be air flow rate, and the interaction between the air pressure and flow rate compared to all other factors and their interactions. These fractional factorial experiments, presently applied to fuel cell systems, can be extended to other ranges and factors with various levels, with a goal to minimize the variation caused by various factors that influence the fuel cell performance but with less number of trials compared to full factorial experiments.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Current voltage–power characteristics of the fuel stack at 55°C, H2=1.2 stoic, air=3.5 stoic, from blower

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Figure 2

(a) Probability plot of the fuel cell power. (b) Box plot of the experimental data.

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Figure 3

Mean effects of the four factors on the fuel cell stack performance

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Figure 4

Residual plots of the main and interaction effects of a 2kW stack

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Figure 5

Main and interaction effects of the four factors at two levels on the fuel cell stack performance

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Figure 6

Main and interaction effects’ plot for the fractional factorial experiment




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