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Hybrid fuel cell

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Introduction[edit]

Fuel cells are emerging as an attractive power supply source for applications such as distributed generation power systems
and electrical vehicles. Hybrid fuel cell technology can be applied to various fields: electricity power plants, automotive manufacturing,
cogeneration, smartphone, construction and etc. Hybrid fuel cells has the following advantages: cleanness, high efficiency and high
reliability. Fuel cells operate without the efficiency limitation of the Carnot cycle and without the pollution associated withe the combustion
of fossil fuels[1]. However, there are also disadvantages: it cannot store energy, the response is slow, difficult to cold start
and its output voltage fluctuates with the load[2].

See Fuel cellW on Wikipedia.


Fc1.jpg
Simple fuel cell and air compressor power system.


Fc2.jpg
Photograph of the hybrid fuel cell power system.

Types Fuel Cells[edit]

  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Electricity, water and heat can be produced when hydrogen and oxygen combined as a fuel cell. If compared to batteries
which has limited lifespan, the fuel cell will produce electricity as long as the fuel (hydrogen) is supplied, and nver losing its charge [3].

  • Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM)

Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells employ a polymer membrane with acid side groups to conduct protons from the
anode to cathode. Water management in the fuel cell is critical for PEM fuel cell operation. Sufficient water must be absorbed into
the membrane to ionize the acid groups; excess water can flood the cathode of the fuel cell diminishing fuel cell performance
limiting the power output. [4] See Youtube video of How PEM Fuel Cell works.

  • Direct Methanol Fuel Cell
  • Alkaline Fuel Cells
  • Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells
  • Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell
  • Solid Oxide Fuel Cell
  • Regenerative Fuel Cell

For comparison of fuel cells, see here [5]


Hybrid Fuel Cell Power System Models[edit]


A Sample Hybrid Fuel Cell Power System[edit]

Components of a Hybrid Fuel Cell Power System[edit]


  1. Full Cell
  2. Unidirectional Converter
  3. Bidirectional Converter
  4. Battery
  5. Inverter

Fc3.jpg Main circuit of whole system

Operation Principle[edit]

  1. Cold Start
  2. Overload

Power Management[edit]

  1. Operation Conditions of the Battery
  2. Operation Conditions of the Fuel Cell
  3. Power Flow of the Power System
  4. Slip-In Point and Slip-Out Point

Implementation of Control Circuit[edit]

  1. Unidirectional Converter Control
  2. Bidirectional Converter Control
  3. Power Management Control

(Note: for the complete design and analysis of this proposed sample hybrid fuel cell power system, please read A Hybrid Fuel Cell Power System by Jin et al[8].)


Applications[edit]

See how hydrogen fuel cells applied to aircraft:


Challenges of Hybrid Fuel Cell Technology[edit]

  • Cost
  • Durability and Reliability
  • System Size
  • Air, Thermal and Water Management
  • Improved Heat Recovery Systems

Please read Fuel Cell Technology Challenges [10].


References[edit]

  1. A. Dalvi and M. Guay. 2009. Control and Real-time Optimization of an Automotive Hybrid Fuel Cell Power System. Control EngineeringPractice17(2009)924–938.
  2. Jin, K et al. 2009. A Hybrid Fuel Cell Power System. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics. VOL.56, NO.4.
  3. Hydrogen Energy. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/tech/hydrogen
  4. http://www.princeton.edu/~benziger/PEMFC.pdf
  5. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/fuelcells/fc_types.html
  6. http://www.engin.umich.edu/~cre/asyLearn/bits/cstr/
  7. Pukrushpan, J.T.,Peng,H., and Stefanopoulou,A.G.(2004). Control of Fuel Cell Power Systems.
  8. Jin, K et al. 2009. A Hybrid Fuel Cell Power System. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics. VOL.56, NO.4. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/login.jsp?url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fstamp%2Fstamp.jsp%3Ftp%3D%26arnumber%3D4668419&authDecision=-203
  9. Rajashekara, K. 2005. Hybrid Fuel-Cell Strategies for Clean Power Generation. IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, VOL. 41, NO. 3, MAY/JUNE 2005. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=1432990
  10. Fuel Cell Technology Challenges, http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/fuelcells/fc_challenges.html