PhD Thesis

Modelling and control of high-temperature proton exchange membrane fuel cells for combined heat and power comfort applications

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  • Started: 01/01/2017
  • Finished: 04/10/2022


This project considers the use of high temperature PEM Fuel Cell (HTPEMFC) in Combined Heat and Power (CHP). In particular, the project raises the use of HTPEMFC in residential comfort applications. The thesis will be developed in the MICAPEM project framework, this project addresses all the necessary aspects, from the design and construction of the HTPEMFC, its isolated management and its integration into a comfort system.
The thesis will focus on the modeling, control and supervision of the fuel cell and the control and supervision of the CHP system. Fuel cells are complex electrochemical systems and their modeling implies the use of equations in partial derivatives, which substantially hinders the simulation processes and the design of control systems. An important feature is the difficulty of measuring many of the parameters and variables. This substantially hinders the design of real control systems.
The proposed project aims to develop HTPEMFC models that allow efficient simulation, are useful in the design of controllers and can be integrated in the CHP models. Due to the complexity of the fuel cell models and the variability in the parameters, it is intended to study the applicability of robust control techniques, and of linear systems with variable parameters (LPV). This will be combined with adaptive techniques and estimation of parameters. Parameter estimation techniques will allow obtaining information to perform predictive maintenance and prediction of its useful life. Aside from guaranteeing the supply of the amount of energy demanded the control system of the battery will have the objectives to improve his efficiency and useful life (reduction of the degradation).

The work is under the scope of the following projects:

  • MICAPEM: Parameter estimation, diagnosis and control for the improvement of efficiency and durability of PEM fuel cells (web)