Journal of Power Sources, Vol.340, 247-257, 2017
Optimal control of fuel overpressure in a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell with hydrogen transfer leak during load change
Formation of membrane pinholes is a common defect in fuel cells, inflicting more cost and making less durable cells. This work focuses on mitigating this issue, and offers a continuous online treatment instead of attempting to dynamically model the hydrogen transfer leak rate. This is achieved by controlling the differential pressure:between the anode and cathode compartments at the inlet side of the fuel cell stack, known as the fuel overpressure. The model predictive control approach is used to attain the objectives in a Ballard 9-cell Mk1100 polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) with inclusion of hydrogen transfer leak. Furthermore, the pneumatic modeling technique is used to model the entire anode side of a fuel cell station. The hydrogen transfer leak is embedded in the model in a novel way, and is considered as a disturbance during the controller design. Experimental results for different sizes of hydrogen transfer leaks are provided to show the benefits of fuel overpressure control system in alleviating the effects of membrane pinholes, which in turn increases membrane longevity, and reduces hydrogen emissions in the eventual presence of transfer leaks. Moreover, the model predictive controller provides an optimal control input while satisfying the problem constraints. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.