International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Vol.45, No.33, 16773-16786, 2020
Hydrogen utilization enhancement of proton exchange membrane fuel cell with anode recirculation system through a purge strategy
Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells are widely considered as potential alternative energy candidates for internal combustion engines because of their low-temperature start, high energy density, and ease of scale up. However, their low hydrogen utilization rate is one of the main reasons for the limited commercial development. This study focuses on improving the hydrogen utilization rate of PEM fuel cells and system efficiency using optimal active recirculation system (ARS). An anode ARS and purging strategy are introduced to enhance the hydrogen utilization rate of PEM fuel cells. An ARS simulation model with purge strategy model is developed in a MATLAB/Simulink environment. A control-oriented dynamic model is developed to study the hydrogen recirculation system characteristics. The dynamic model is used as basis to propose a proportional integration differentiation controller to maintain the anode hydrogen concentration and increase the hydrogen utilization rate. Several experiments are performed using different purging strategies in conjunction with ARS. The hydrogen utilization rate is the highest when the purge time is 0.3 s and the purge period is 10 s. Simulation results show that the PEM fuel cells with an anode recirculation configuration exhibit a better performance than other configurations in terms of hydrogen utilization. Experimental results also demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed system, the performance of which is also superior to that of other hydrogen supply system. (C) 2020 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.