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Research Papers

Fuel Cell Power Control Based on a Master-Slave Structure: A Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Case Study

[+] Author and Article Information
Guangji Ji

 College of Automotive Engineering, Tongji University, 201804, Shanghai, China; Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, 39106, Magdeburg, Germany

Richard Hanke-Rauschenbach1

 Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, 39106, Magdeburg, Germanyhanke-rauschenbach@mpi-magdeburg.mpg.de Process Systems Engineering, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, 39106, Magdeburg, Germanyhanke-rauschenbach@mpi-magdeburg.mpg.de College of Automotive Engineering, Tongji University, 201804, Shanghai, Chinahanke-rauschenbach@mpi-magdeburg.mpg.de Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, 39106, Magdeburg, Germany; Process Systems Engineering,  Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, 39106, Magdeburg, Germanyhanke-rauschenbach@mpi-magdeburg.mpg.de

Astrid Bornhöft, Su Zhou, Kai Sundmacher

 Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, 39106, Magdeburg, Germany Process Systems Engineering, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, 39106, Magdeburg, Germany College of Automotive Engineering, Tongji University, 201804, Shanghai, China Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, 39106, Magdeburg, Germany; Process Systems Engineering,  Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, 39106, Magdeburg, Germany

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 9(4), 041001 (Jun 14, 2012) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006801 History: Received November 06, 2011; Revised April 04, 2012; Published June 14, 2012; Online June 14, 2012

Fuel cells generally become promising candidates for the electrical power supply in automotive and stationary applications. The power control of the fuel cell is one of the essential problems. In this paper, a power control concept with a master-slave structure for fuel cell systems is suggested. Within that concept, a DC/DC converter, several slave controllers, and a master controller are combined to achieve the control objectives. The DC/DC converter conditions the power and transfers it from the fuel cell to the load. The task of the slave controller is to maintain the controlled variables at their set points. The master controller has to select the set points for the slave controllers and limits the fuel cell output power, if the requested power exceeds the maximum power, which can be instantaneously produced by the controlled fuel cell system. The proposed control concept is demonstrated by simulations of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system taken from the literature. For that purpose, different controllers are designed based on model-free methods. For the master controller design, two alternative options are discussed: high efficiency tracking and fast power tracking. As shown in the simulation results, high efficiency tracking leads to higher system efficiency, however, an additional energy buffer is required. In contrast, no energy buffer is needed for the option of fast power tracking. However, the system efficiency is lower. The presented control concept is meaningful for systems with dynamic load requirements and can be easily applied to different fuel cell systems due to the model-free design approach.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Piping and instrumentation diagram of the selected PEM fuel cell system, according to the work of Lauzze and Chmielewski [19]: ‘A’ and ‘V’ represent the current sensor and voltage sensor, respectively. ‘FIC’ is the flow indicating controller, ‘TIC’ is the temperature indicating controller, and ‘PIC’ is the pressure indicating controller.

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Figure 2

The electrical connection among the fuel cell, DC/DC converter, and load

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Figure 3

Simulation results of sub-critical load change: controlled UI curve under TsolSP = 75 °C, and λO2SP = 1.8

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Figure 4

Transient trace of the selected internal states: (a) current density, (b) cell voltage, (c) O2 concentration at the reaction surface, and (d) cell temperature

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Figure 5

Demonstration of power management under super-critical load change

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Figure 6

Master-slave control diagram for a PEM fuel cell system power control

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Figure 7

Feasibility map of the PEM fuel cell system operated under the given conditions: Tsol = 75 °C, and RHcat,in = 55%

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Figure 8

High efficiency tracking scenario: transient of power density and system efficiency

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Figure 9

High efficiency tracking scenario: (a) cell temperature and its set point, (b) inlet coolant flow rate, (c) oxygen stoichiometry and its set point, and (d) inlet cathode air flow rate

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Figure 10

Fast power tracking scenario: transient of power density and system efficiency

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Figure 11

Fast power tracking scenario: (a) cell temperature and its set point, (b) inlet coolant flow rate, (c) oxygen stoichiometry and its set point, and (d) inlet cathode air flow rate

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Figure 12

System efficiency comparison between fast power tracking and high efficiency tracking

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