Performance improvement of a PEMFC system controlling the cathode outlet air flow

Journal Article (2007)


Journal of Power Sources







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This paper presents a stationary and dynamic study of the advantages of using a regulating valve for the cathode outlet flow in combination with the compressor motor voltage as manipulated variables in a fuel cell system. At a given load current, the cathode input and output flowrate determine the cathode pressure and stoichiometry, and consequently determine the oxygen partial pressure, the generated voltage and the compressor power consumption. In order to maintain a high efficiency during operation, the cathode output regulating valve has to be adjusted to the operating conditions, specially marked by the current drawn from the stack. Besides, the appropriate valve manipulation produces an improvement in the transient response of the system. The influence of this input variable is exploited by implementing a predictive control strategy based on dynamic matrix control (DMC), using the compressor voltage and the cathode output regulating valve as manipulated variables. The objectives of this control strategy are to regulate both the fuel cell voltage and oxygen excess ratio in the cathode, and thus, to improve the system performance. All the simulation results have been obtained using the MATLAB-Simulink environment.


control theory, optimisation, predictive control.

Author keywords

PEMFC, multivariable control, predictive control, dynamic matrix control, performance improvement

Scientific reference

D. Feroldi, M. Serra and J. Riera. Performance improvement of a PEMFC system controlling the cathode outlet air flow. Journal of Power Sources, 169(1): 205-212, 2007.