Fuel cell systems and ancillaries

Axe animator : Samir Jemeï, MCF

A Fuel Cell System (FCS) is made up of several components linked each other.
To produce power, the Fuel Cell (FC) stack must be surrounded by many ancillaries :

  • Hydrogen source,
  • Air or Oxygen source,
  • Coolant circuit to maintain Fuel Cell stack and ancillaries temperatures,
  • Gas humidifier system
  • Static converter,
  • Control system.

Scientific and technological barriers that have to be overcome deal essentially with the air supply system, which is one of the main Fuel Cell subsystems. The air management for FCS is a challenge because commercial compressors and humidifier are not yet suitable for reliable applications.

Many different kinds of phenomena (physics and technological aspects) are involved in the FCS and in the performance of the stack. Taking into account such aspects is not a trivial task. That’s why different items are considered in this research axe:

  • Air Compressor-Motor group : Model and optimize the air compressor-motor group components (compression head, motor, control…)
  • Humidifier : Study of different humidifiing technologies (steam injection, water, injection, enthalpy wheel, membrane hydration, stack short-circuit) in order to obtain an optimized and commercial solution)
  • Humidifier-compressor : Integration of the compressor and the humidifier in a same component.
  • Cool-circuit : Optimize and control ancillaries and fuell cell stack cooling. Study of new technologies and ways of control. Study of cold starts
  • Static converter : Design of static converter in order to manage the energy delivered by the fuel cell stack. Study the possibilities to integrate a diagnosis tool.
Figure 1 : Air compressor test bench
Figure 2 : Double screw air compressor test bench (100g/s & 2,5 bar)
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