The hydrogen and
fuel cell center
ZBT GmbH

DynaCell - Dynamic modelling and model-based control of PEM fuel cell systems

The hydrogen and fuel cell center ZBT and the Institute of Automatic Control (IRT) at RWTH Aachen University are developing a control system for PEM fuel cell systems that enables maximum dynamic operation.The possible dynamic control of a fuel cell system is of significant importance for the dimensioning and thus the costs of hybrid systems.

Laufzeit: 01.09.2020 bis 28.02.2023 IGF Vorhaben Nr.: 61 EWN

The core of the developments is the correct dynamic representation of all components along the cathode path, including the fuel cell stack (ZBT). Based on these models, a model predictive control is then developed, which particularly controls the interaction of the compressor, the throttles and also the fuel cell load (IRT). The developments are related to a 10 kW fuel cell system, which is developed and examined at the ZBT and is finally used for the validation of the model predictive controller.

 

Project description:

The aim of the project is to develop a dynamic model of a polymer electrolyte (PEM) fuel cell, including the components relevant to the dynamics, which is particularly suitable for use in model-based control procedures, and to implement model-based control procedures for optimising the holistic operation of the fuel cell to increase the efficiency while maintaining the same service life.
By carrying out dynamic measurements on the test bench, isolated dynamics are first measured in order to subsequently expand existing static models. Furthermore, a comprehensive validation is carried out against two different fuel cell systems on the test bench in order to ensure the validity of the model in as many operating ranges as possible. In parallel, model-based control approaches are being investigated for their suitability and the most promising approaches are being implemented. With the help of a multi-step validation, first purely simulative, then in hardware-in-the-loop operation and finally on the test bench, the aim is to find a solution that can be used industrially.
By using model-based control methods with customised dynamic models of the fuel cell, including peripherals, the advantages of the fuel cell are optimally exploited. On the one hand, the operating point of the fuel cell can be selected to be as energy-efficient as possible; on the other hand, an operating parameter-dependent strategy enables the fuel cell to extend its operating range and can thereby avoid undesirable further reductions in service life.
Within the entire value chain, from component producers to system developers to system integrators, SMEs can benefit from the results by lowering barriers to dynamic operation and achieving more economical and competitive operation.

 

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