Energy Conversion and Management, Vol.183, 230-240, 2019
A proton exchange membrane fuel cell with an airflow cooling system: Dynamics, validation and nonlinear control
This work synthesizes a reduced-order sliding mode observer-based sliding mode controller for a proton exchange membrane fuel cell system. This multivariable closed-loop system is dealt with two inputs (hydrogen fuel flow and cooling air flow rate) and two outputs (output voltage and stack temperature). For this, at first, we develop a nonlinear transient proton exchange membrane fuel cell model. This model is verified with the available experimental data. To maintain the fuel cell operating temperature, it is coupled with an airflow cooling fan. Then a nonlinear model-based control scheme is formulated that consists of sliding mode controller and reduced-order sliding mode observer. A special care is taken in control model against chattering response. Evaluating the sliding mode observer performance, it is integrated with sliding mode controller and the resulting hybrid control structure is compared with a traditional proportional integral controller. The nonlinear sliding mode observer-based controller shows its superiority over the proportional integral controller in rejecting the disturbance as well as tracking the set point.