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Applying a 2 kW Polymer Membrane Fuel-Cell Stack to Building Hybrid Power Sources for Unmanned Ground Vehicles


The novel constructions of hybrid energy sources using polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEMFCs), and supercapacitors are developed. Studies on the energy demand and peak electrical power of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) weighing up to 100 kg were conducted under various conditions. It was found that the average electrical power required does not exceed ~2 kW under all conditions studied. However, under the dynamic electrical load of the electric drive of mobile robots, the short peak power exceeded 2 kW, and the highest current load was in the range of 80–90 A. The electrical performance of a family of PEMFC stacks built in open-cathode mode was determined. A hydrogen-usage control strategy for power generation, cleaning processes, and humidification was analysed. The integration of a PEMFC stack with a bank of supercapacitors makes it possible to mitigate the voltage dips. These occur periodically at short time intervals as a result of short-circuit operation. In the second construction, the recovery of electrical energy dissipated by a short-circuit unit (SCU) was also demonstrated in the integrated PEMFC stack and supercapacitor bank system. The concept of an energy-efficient, mobile, and environmentally friendly hydrogen charging unit has been proposed. It comprises (i) a hydrogen anion exchange membrane electrolyser, (ii) a photovoltaic installation, (iii) a battery storage, (iv) a hydrogen buffer storage in a buffer tank, (v) a hydrogen compression unit, and (vi) composite tanks.

Funding source: This research work was funded as part of the “Implementation Doctorate” programme V/2021
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Poland

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