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Research Papers

Development of a 600 W Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Power System for the Hazardous Mission Robot

[+] Author and Article Information
Sang-Yeop Lee, Hyoung-Juhn Kim, Suk Woo Nam, Sun Ja Kim, Jong Hyun Jang, EunAe Cho, Seong-Ahn Hong

Center for Fuel Cell Research, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, 39-1 Hawolgok-dong, Sungbuk-gu, Seoul 136-791, Republic of Korea

In-Gyu Min

Center for Fuel Cell Research, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, 39-1 Hawolgok-dong, Sungbuk-gu, Seoul 136-791, Republic of Korea; Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Korea University, Anam-dong, Sungbuk-gu, Seoul 136-713, Republic of Korea

Jaeyoung Lee1

Center for Fuel Cell Research, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, 39-1 Hawolgok-dong, Sungbuk-gu, Seoul 136-791, Republic of Korea

Kwang Ho Song

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Korea University, Anam-dong, Sungbuk-gu, Seoul 136-713, Republic of Korea

Tae-Hoon Lim2

Center for Fuel Cell Research, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, 39-1 Hawolgok-dong, Sungbuk-gu, Seoul 136-791, Republic of Koreathlim@kist.re.kr

1

Present address: Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 500-712, Republic of Korea.

2

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(3), 031006 (Mar 11, 2010) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3206970 History: Received May 21, 2008; Revised August 04, 2008; Published March 11, 2010; Online March 11, 2010

Due to the advantage of fuel cells over secondary batteries such as long operation time, many efforts were executed in order to use fuel cells as main power sources of small electronic devices such as laptop computers and mobile phones. For the same reason, fuel cells are promising power sources for the hazardous mission robots. Fuel cells are able to increase their radius action through extension of operation time. Despite this advantage, there still exist technical barriers such as increasing power density, efficient hydrogen storage, and fast startup of the power system. First, in order to increase power density, the united stack including proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) and membrane humidifying cells were developed. Also, the hydrogen generating system using NaBH4 solution was employed to store hydrogen effectively. In addition, to shorten start-up time, hybrid control of PEMFC and Li-ion battery was adopted. The approaches mentioned above were evaluated. The developed PEMFC/humidifier stack showed high performance. As compared with full humidification condition by external humidifiers, the performance decrease was only 1% even though hydrogen was not humidified and air was partially humidified. Besides, by integrating the PEMFC and the humidifier into a single stack, considerable space for tubing between them was saved. Also, the hydrogen generator operated well with the PEMFC system and allowed for effective fuel storing and refueling. In addition, due to the efficient hybrid control of PEMFC and battery, start-up time was significantly shortened and capacity of PEMFC was reduced, resulting in compactness of the power system. In conclusion, a 600 W PEMFC power system was developed and successfully operated with the robot. Through development and evaluation of the PEMFC power system, the possibility of PEMFC as a novel power source for the hazardous mission robot was verified.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Performance of a single cell with dry hydrogen and air

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Figure 2

Performance of a single cell with partially humidified reactant gases

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Figure 3

The united stack of fuel cells and humidifying cells

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Figure 4

The PEMFC/humidifier stack performances at 30 A with different humidifying conditions

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Figure 5

Voltage response of the PEMFC/humidifier stack with a rapid load change

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Figure 6

Heat removal rates at different coolant flow rates and temperatures

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Figure 7

Efficiency of dc/dc conversion by the PMS

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Figure 8

Power flow at (a) mode I, (b) mode II, (c) mode III, and (d) mode IV

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Figure 9

The robot for hazardous missions with the developed PEMFC power system

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Figure 10

Power flow and capacity of the hybrid power system

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Figure 11

Power management at startup with (a) a fully charged battery and (b) a partially charged battery

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Figure 12

Power management at normal operation with (a) a fully charged battery and (b) a partially charged battery

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