Research Papers

An Enhanced Fuel Cell Dynamic Model With Electrochemical Phenomena Parameterization as Test Bed for Control System Analysis

[+] Author and Article Information
Victor M. Fontalvo

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Universidad del Norte,
Barranquilla 081007, Colombia
e-mail: vfontalvo@uninorte.edu.co

George J. Nelson

Department of Mechanical &
Aerospace Engineering,
The University of Alabama in Huntsville,
Huntsville, AL 35899
e-mail: george.nelson@uah.edu

Humberto A. Gomez

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Universidad del Norte,
Barranquilla 081007, Colombia
e-mail: humgomez@uninorte.edu.co

Marco E. Sanjuan

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Universidad del Norte,
Barranquilla 081007, Colombia
e-mail: msanjuan@uninorte.edu.co

1Corresponding authors.

Manuscript received October 4, 2018; final manuscript received January 17, 2019; published online March 13, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Partha P. Mukherjee.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 16(3), 031007 (Mar 13, 2019) (14 pages) Paper No: JEECS-18-1105; doi: 10.1115/1.4042726 History: Received October 04, 2018; Revised January 17, 2019

In this work, a model of a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is presented. A dynamic performance characterization is performed to assess the cell transient response to input variables. The model used in the simulation considers three different phenomena: mass transfer, thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. The main sources of voltage loss are presented: activation, electrical resistance, and concentration. The model is constructed to avoid the use of fitted parameters, reducing the experimentation required for its validation. Hence, the electrochemical model is parameterized by physical variables, including material properties and geometrical characteristics. The model is demonstrated as a test-bed for PEMFC control system design and evaluation. Results demonstrate that the steady-state and dynamic behavior of the system are represented accurately. A case study is included to show the functionality of the model. In the case study, the effect of the purge valves at the fuel cell discharges is analyzed under different scenarios. Regular purges of the cathode and the anode are shown to achieve a good performance in the system avoiding reactant starvation in the cell. A closed-loop dynamic response is included as an example of the model capabilities for the design of fuel cell control strategies. Two variables were selected to be controlled: voltage and pressure difference across the membrane. A multivariate control strategy was tested and its dynamic response was analyzed. It was found that there was a strong interaction between the control loops, making the control of the system a challenge.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Fuel cell model diagram

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Water mass diffusion coefficient DH2O×1010 (m2/s)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Fuel cell polarization main parameters, from theoretical potential toward the real output voltage. Operational (pressures p, temperatures T, and load current I), electrochemical (activation energy ΔG, exchange current i0ref, and electrode roughness fr), and material (electrical resistances Rj, conductivity σj, porosity ε, tortuosity ξ, thickness δe) parameters.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Polarization curve when the operation pressure is (a) p =2.36 atm and (b) p =3.72 atm

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Proton exchange membrane fuel cell system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Fuel cell dynamic response with no purge applied (load: Ifc = 3 A)): (a) species in anode and cathode channels, (b) pressures in anode and cathode channels, (c) load, current, and purge valve control signal, and (d) reagent concentration

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Fuel cell dynamic response with no purge applied (load: Ifc = 1 A): (a) species in anode and cathode channels, (b) pressures in anode and cathode channels, (c) load, current, and purge valve control signal, and (d) reagent concentration

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Fuel cell dynamic response with purge applied periodically: (a) species in anode and cathode channels, (b) pressures in anode and cathode channels, (c) load, current, and purge valve control signal, and (d) reagent concentration

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Excess ratios when (a) no purge is applied (Ifc = 3 A) and (b) purge is applied periodically

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Closed loop response (a) controlled variables and (b) manipulated variables



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