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Direct hybridization of a PEM fuel cell and a supercapacitor storage device : Comparative study of aging in urban cycling, and optimal management of hydrogen consumption

Abstract : The fuel cell (FC) is poorly adapted to the sudden variations in power encountered in transport applications. The FC hybridization to a supercapacitor (SC) was then studied, since this capacitive storage device allows to manage the power transients. Hybridization is direct/passive, thus reducing the volume, mass and cost of the system. Initially, the feasibility and the impact of SC size on FC performance have been examined numerically. Theoretical investigations show that increasing the size of SC enhances the smoothing effect introduced by the supercapacitor on FC current. This results into slow variations and reduction in both current and voltage amplitudes, a decrease in the fuel cell’s effective current, and therefore in FC electrical losses. Hybridization, compared to its FC operation alone, still reduces hydrogen overconsumption by nearly 50 % under the same operating conditions. These results have been validated by experimental tests carried out on a 100 cm2 single FC and a 3 cell stack. Later, the durability of the FC system has been investigated through long term tests. These durability tests have been conducted on the 100 cm2 single FC test bench using urban cycling protocol (FC-DLC), for both hybridized and unhybridized FC system, with continuous evaluation of degradation extent and causes. These tests suggest no detrimental impact on durability of the FC. For these two operating modes, a progressive aging of the gas diffusion layer seems to appear. Subsequently, in order to further reduce the overconsumption of hydrogen in long-term FC-DLC cycling, different strategies were studied: reducing the minimum gas flow rate imposed by FC-DLC cycling from 0.2 to 0.05 A cm-2, and reducing the hydrogen overstoichiometry coefficient from 1.2 to 1.1. These changes have no influence on the durability of the hybrid cell and have reduced hydrogen overconsumption to 10 %. On the contrary, in case of the unhybridized FC, durability was halved as minimum flows were reduced and it did not work when the overstoichiometry reduced coefficient. Further, work has been extended to high power FC systems (1.2 kW FC system, hybridized with two modules of 165 F, SC module). Finally, the FC downsizing has been demonstrated from 34kW FC system to hybrid source system of 10kW FC hybridized with 566.64 F SC, presenting 21 % hydrogen saving and nearly 50 % net cost savings.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 3:50:49 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-02393993, version 1



Divyesh Arora. Direct hybridization of a PEM fuel cell and a supercapacitor storage device : Comparative study of aging in urban cycling, and optimal management of hydrogen consumption. Chemical engineering. Université de Lorraine, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019LORR0097⟩. ⟨tel-02393993⟩



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