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Control Strategy Assessment for Improving PEM Fuel Cell System Efficiency in Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles


Concerns about climate change, air pollution, and the depletion of oil resources have prompted authorities to enforce increasingly strict rules in the automotive sector. There are several benefits to implementing fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHV) in the transportation sector, including the ability to assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen as energy carriers. This paper examines different control strategies for optimizing the power split between the battery and PEM fuel cell in order to maximize the PEM fuel cell system efficiency and reduce fuel consumption. First, the vehicle and fuel cell system models are described. A forward approach is considered to model the vehicle dynamics, while a semi-empirical and quasi-static model is used for the PEM fuel cell. Then, different rule-based control strategies are analyzed with the aim of maximizing fuel cell system efficiency while ensuring a constant battery state of charge (SOC). The different methods are evaluated while the FCHV is performing both low-load and high-load drive cycles. The hydrogen consumption and the overall fuel cell system efficiency are considered for all testing conditions. The results highlight that in both low-load cycles and high-load cycles, the best control strategies achieve a fuel cell system efficiency equal or greater to 33%, while achieving a fuel consumption 30% less with respect to the baseline control strategy in low-load drive cycles.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Italy

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