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Grid-Tied Power Conditioning System for Fuel Cell Power Generation


J. Lee, Student Member, IEEE, B. Han, Senior Member, IEEE, H. Cha, Member, IEEE

Abstract This paper proposes a grid-tied power conditioning system for the fuel cell, which consists of a three-phase current-fed dc-dc converter and a 3-phase inverter. The three-phase currentfed dc-dc converter boosts the fuel cell voltage of 26-48V up to 400V, using the zero voltage switching and three-phase DC power transfer capability. The operation of proposed power conditioning system was verified through simulations with PSCAD/EMTDC software. The feasibility of hardware implementation was verified through experimental works with a laboratory prototype, which was built with 1.2kW PEM fuel-cell stack, 1kW current-fed converter, and 2kW PWM inverter. The proposed system can be utilized to commercialize a real interconnection system for the fuel-cell power generation. Index Terms Fuel cell, Power Generation, Grid-Tied Converter, DC/DC Converter, ZVS(Zero Voltage Switching).

I. INTRODUCTION

uel cell is a clean energy source to generate the electricity like a solar cell. Many kinds of fuel cell were developed for supplying the electricity to the car or the home. PEM(proton exchange membrane) fuel cell, which has simple structure and high power density, is considered as a DC power source for the distributed power generation and for the passenger car.[1] Fuel cell has non-linear characteristic in electrical operation due to the polarization phenomena of electrochemical reaction. The terminal voltage at the rated load drops to the half value of the terminal voltage at no load. So, a DCDC converter with high efficiency and high amplification is definitely required to boost the low terminal voltage up to the high DC link voltage. [2][3] Full-bridge converter, push-pull converter, or boost converter has been widely used as a DC-DC converter for the fuel cell. Full-bridge converter has a disadvantage of high switching loss due to large number of switching units. Pushpull converter has lower switching loss due to lower number of switching units, but it has 88% efficiency because it requires double winding structure in the primary side. Boost

converter has lower switching loss due to small number of switching units, but it has lower voltage boosting ratio of 3 to 4 times. Multi-stage boost converter without transformer was developed to obtain high voltage boosting ratio. But its efficiency is located between 8690%. Isolated boost converter was also developed to obtain high voltage boosting ratio, of which the efficiency is located between 8690%. In order to increase the efficiency and to reduce the number of components, various type converters were proposed and are being proposed by many researchers. [4][5] Recently, threephase power transfer concept has been extended to the DCDC converter for high power and high efficiency applications. This paper proposes a new structure of DC-DC converter for fuel cell application, which is composed of three-phase dcdc converter with boost inductor, active clamp, three-phase delta-delta wound transformer and three-phase diode rectifier. The proposed DC-DC converter is coupled with the general inverter to configure the power conditioning system for fuel cell, which can be interconnected with the power grid. The operational feasibility of proposed power conditioning system for fuel cell was confirmed by computer simulations with PSCAD/EMTDC and experimental results with a prototype. II. PROPOSED POWER CONDITIONING SYSTEM Fig. 1 shows the configuration of proposed power conditioning system including the whole system controller. Power conditioning system for fuel cell requires a high amplification, high efficiency DC-DC converter because it has a severe voltage variation between at no-load and full load condition. In order to satisfy this condition this paper proposes a new three-phase DC-DC converter composed of boost inductor, active clamp and three-phase high-frequency transformer. The proposed converter has high efficiency because it operates in zero voltage switching mode by using a active clamp. It has a simple control structure to regulate the output voltage of 400V by controlling the duty ratio of the converter. Whole system controller is divided into the control part for DC-DC converter and the control part for inverter. The control part for the DC-DC converter is to maintain the DC output voltage constant, while the control part for the inverter

This work was financially supported by the advanced human resource development program of MKE (Ministry of Knowledge and Economy) through the Research Center for Intelligent Microgrid in Myongji University. J. Lee is with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Myongji University, Korea (e-mail: pho1234@mju.ac.kr). B. Han is with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Myongji University, Korea (e-mail: erichan@mju.ac.kr). H. Cha is with Department of Electrical Engineering, Chungnam National University (e-mail: hjcha@cnu.ac.kr).

978-1-4244-6551-4/10/$26.00 2010 IEEE

Vrated = Vds + Vqs

E = E*de + E*qe

E qe = tan 1 * E de
*

Fig. 1. Configuration of Proposed System

is to control the active power P and the reactive power Q. The control part for DC-DC converter compares the measured DC capacitor voltage with the reference value and generates an error signal. The error signal is sent to the PI controller to determine the duty ratio. The three-phase DC-DC converter maintains the output voltage to 400V by generating six main switch gate signals with the duty ratio and single active clamp switch gate signal with a complementary duty ratio. The control part for the inverter measures the 3-phase voltage and current and performs the d-q transform with the phase-locked angle. It generates the reference values of d-axis current and q-axis current dividing the reference values of active power P and the reactive power Q by the rated voltage. These d and q reference currents are sent to the current control for generating the d and q reference voltage of inverter. These d and q reference voltages are used for generating the PWM pulses by inverse d-q transform. III. FUEL-CELL MODELING In PEM fuel cell the hydrogen gas is supplied to the anode through a platinum catalyst to be ionized into a hydrogen proton and an electron. The hydrogen proton moves to the cathode through the solid polymer membrane and is combined with the oxygen supplied to the cathode. Through this electron-chemical reaction, fuel cell generates electricity and heat, and water as a by-product. The ideal fuel cell voltage is same as the equilibrium voltage represented by Nernst model which is based on Gips free energy. The actual fuel cell voltage is represented by the reduction characteristic of equilibrium voltage due to polarization phenomenon. The unit cell voltage of fuel cell is represented by subtracting three polarization losses from the equilibrium voltage with respect to the exchange current density. The unit cell voltage shows non-linear characteristic and is expressed by equation (1).
E cell = E rev E act E con E ohm

and Eohm is the ohmic polarization loss. The activated polarization loss, which is due to the difference of reaction speed on the electrode, is represented by equation (2). Where, io is the exchange current density related to the normal and reverse reactions between the electrolyte and the electrode. The exchange current is dependent on the pressure, the catalyst, the activated energy, and the temperature. If this value is reduced, the activated polarization Eact is reduced and the output voltage of fuel cell Ecell is increased. So, the exchange current is very important parameter in fuel cell. The concentration polarization loss Econ is due to the gradient difference of reaction material concentration, which is represented by equation (4). The ohmic polarization loss Eohm, which is composed of electrolyte resistance, electrode resistance, and the lead wire resistance, is represented by equation (5).
E act = RT i + i loss ln F io

(2) (3) (4) (5)

Pr ref io = io a cLc P ref r E con =

exp E c 1 T T RT ref

RT i L ln nF iL i

E ohm = iR i

So, the output voltage characteristic of fuel cell is represented by the above five equations. If all the parameters described in these equations are known for a specific fuel cell, its output voltage with respect to output current is easily analyzed. Fig. 2 shows output characteristic curves for unit cell of a typical fuel cell. The actual cell output Ecell is reduced with

(1)

Fig. 2. Output voltage characteristic of Fuel-cell

Where, Erev is the equilibrium voltage, Eact is the activated polarization loss, Econ is the concentration polarization loss,


Fig. 4. Circuit Diagram of 2-stage DC-DC Converter

Fig. 3. Output characteristics modeling of fuel cell stack

The sequence of topological states is shown in Fig. 5 and is described below. Operation Mode 1 (t0-t1) At t0, the four switches S2 ~ S5 are turned off, and ISc is Id. The bridge voltage VPN reaches and is clamped on the clamp capacitor voltage VC. The current through the leakage inductance Llk increases as a slope determined by voltage difference between the clamp voltage VC and the reflected output voltage VO/. Operation Mode 2 (t1-t2) The clamp current ISc reverses its polarity and flows through MOSFET SC. ISc provides the difference between the increasing IA and constant boost inductor current Id. ISc increases to Id and IA becomes 2 Id at t2. Operation Mode 3 (t2-t3) At t2, the active clamp switch SC is turned off and the energy stored in Llk discharges the output capacitances of S3 and S4. Then, VPN decreases to zero voltage and the body diodes of S3 and S4 begin to conduct. Therefore all main switches including S3 and S4 can be turned on under a zero voltage condition.

non-linear manner by three polarization components from the equilibrium voltage. In the actual fuel cell, many unit cells are connected in series as a stack structure to build up the terminal voltage. So, the voltage and current characteristics of stack is determined multiplying the unit cell voltage by the number of cells and multiplying the unit cell current density by the area of cell. Fig. 3 shows the output voltage characteristic of fuel cell stack that is composed of 47 cells. The y-axis shows the actual output voltage, while the x-axis shows the fuel cell current. This curve is required to design the DC-DC converter for fuel cell power conditioning system. IV. THREE-PHASE DC-DC CONVERTER Fig. 4 shows the configuration of three-phase DC-DC converter with an active clamp. It consists of a three-phase current-fed converter, whose outputs are connected to a threephase full-bridge diode rectifier through a delta-delta wound three-phase transformer. The three-phase current-fed converter is divided into a three-phase full-bridge converter configured as six main MOSFET switches (S1 ~ S6) for threephase dc/ac conversion, one auxiliary MOSFET switch (SC) and clamp capacitor CC for the active clamp, and a dc boost inductor Ldc acting as a current source. The main switches and auxiliary clamp switch perform zero voltage switching (ZVS) through the use of resonance between leakage inductances of the three-phase transformer, clamp capacitor, output capacitances at MOSFET switches, and stray capacitances in the transformer. Therefore, it reduces switching losses and leads to a highly efficient, isolated voltage boost converter. Advantages of employing a current-fed type with an active clamp in the dc/ac stage are: the voltage across the switches is well clamped (i.e. no voltage overshoot); all switches operate with ZVS; no ancillary snubber is required in either the primary or secondary sides; requirements for the output rectifiers speed are less stringent due to zero current switching; and input current generated from the fuel cells or photovoltaic source is continuous, with small ripples.

(a) mode 1

(b) mode 2

(c) mode 3

(d) mode 4 Fig. 5. Operation of Converter

by the cell area. The fuel-cell stack voltage is determined multiplying the cell voltage by the number of stack. Computer simulations were carried out with PSCAD software to verify the operation of proposed power conditioning system. The simulation model consists of a fuel-cell model, 3-phase current-fed active clamp DC-DC converter, grid-tied inverter, and digital controller. The fuel-cell model and the digital controller were represented by user-defined models programmed with C-codes, while the 3-phase current-fed active clamp DC-DC converter, grid-tied inverter, and the 3phase voltage source were represented by built-in models in PSCAD/EMTDC software. In order to confirm the voltage and current variations of fuel cell according to the variation of active power, a simulation scenario was selected as shown in Table 1. The active power varies with step manner from 100W up to 700W, and then down to 100W, while the reactive power varies from 0 up to300Var, and then down to 0Var during 07 sec.
TABLE I OPERATION SCENARIO FOR COMPUTER SIMULATION Time [s] P [W] Q [Var]

1
100 100

2 300 300

3 500 100

4 700 0

5 500 100

6 300 300

7 100 100

Fig. 7 shows the simulation results to verify the operation of proposed system. The operation point at each output power was shown in Fig. 3. Fig. 7(a) shows the operation voltage of fuel cell, which changes according to the variation of active power delivered to the grid. Fig. 7(b) shows the operation current of fuel cell, which changes according to the variation of active power delivered to the grid similar to the case of voltage variation.
Fig. 6. Operation analysis of LLC Resonant Converter

Operation Mode 4 (t3-t4) At t3, IA decreases to zero. All switches S1 ~ S6 are on and boost inductor Ldc charges energy. The same PWM scheme sequence in Fig. 5 is repeated Fig. 6 shows the ideal current waveforms of phase A current IA and clamp current ISc; the gating signals for main switches S1 ~ S6, clamp switch SC together with corresponding working switch pairs. Duty ratio D is defined as an interval when all main switches are turned on and boost inductor Ldc charges energy from input source Vd. V. COMPUTER SIMULATION In order to analyze the operation of proposed fuel-cell power conditioning system, Fuel-cell modeling was first carried out. The unit-cell electrical characteristic of fuel-cell is represented by mathematical model described in [1]. The fuel cell current is determined multiplying the cell current density

(a) Fuel-cell Operation Voltage

(b) Fuel-cell Operation Current

chemical reaction in the fuel cell stack is much slower relatively. In order to confirm a safe and reliable operation, the duration of active power variation was determined by 100sec in the experimental work.
TABLE II OPERATION SCENARIO FOR HARDWARE EXPERIMENT (c) Active-Power Control Time [s] 50 100 100 150 300 300 200 500 100 250 700 0 300 350 500 100 400 300 300 450 100 100 500 -

P [W] 100 Q [Var] 0

(d) Reactive-Power Control

(a) Fuel-Cell Operation Voltage and Current (e) DC Output Voltage Control Fig. 7. Simulation results of proposed system

Fig. 7(c) shows the tracking performance of active power. It is clear that the transient phenomena can be stabilized within 1sec and the steady-state tracking performance seems to be accurate. Fig. 7(d) shows the tracking performance of reactive power. It is clear that the measured value of reactive power tracks the reference value accurately and the transient phenomena is not so severe. Fig. 7(e) shows the tracking performance of DC output voltage. The DC output voltage is maintained at 400V without significant transients. VI. EXPERIMENTAL WORKS Based on the simulation results, a prototype of proposed system was built and tested to confirm the feasibility of hardware implementation. The fuel-cell power unit used in the experiment is the 1.2kW Ballard Nexa PEM Module. The controller for the three-phase DC-DC converter which was designed and built with TMS 320F2808, adjusts the duty ratio of the converter to maintain the output voltage. The voltage amplification is carried out by the duty ratio of current fed converter and the winding ratio of high-frequency transformer. The three-phase DC-DC converter was designed with 10kHz of switching frequency and generates three-phase PWM patterns by using field programmable gate array. The controller for the grid-tied inverter was designed and built with a floating-point DSP(Digital Signal Processor), TMS320vc33-150 by TI and EPLD(Erasable Programmable Logic Device), EP1K100QC208 by Altera. The control board has 24ch of ADC, 4ch of DAC, 4ch of Digital Input, 4ch of Digital Output, 1 module of Encoder pulse input, 1 port of RS232, and 2port of RS485. The actual fuel-cell stack can not track the fast variation of active power in the grid because the

(b) Active-Power Control

(c) DC Output Voltage and Current

(d) Reactive-Power Control Fig. 8. Experimental Results of Hardware Prototype

Fig. 8 shows the experimental results to verify the operation of proposed system. Fig. 8(a) shows the operation voltage and current of fuel cell module with 10V(A)/div. The time div was selected by 100s same as the duration period of active or reactive power. As the active power increases, the fuel cell voltage decreases while the fuel cell current increase.

Fig. 8(b) shows that the measured active power tracks the reference value accurately without severe transient. Fig. 8(c) shows the output voltage and current variation of fuel cell. The output current has same variations as the active power while the capacitor voltage is maintained at 400V. This confirms that the DC-DC converter can accurately control the output voltage without the variation of active power. Fig. 8(d) shows that the measured reactive power tracks the reference value accurately without severe transient. Fig. 9 shows the voltage-current characteristic curve of the fuel cell module used in the experiment. The no-load voltage of fuel cell is about 50V and the terminal voltage goes down while the output current increases, as the active power increases. At the active power of 700W, the fuel cell voltage is 30.02V, and the fuel cell current is 23.56A.

power transfer capability. The operation of proposed power conditioning system was verified through simulations with PSCAD/EMTDC software by checking the active and reactive power control capability. The feasibility of hardware implementation was verified through experimental works with a laboratory prototype, which was built with 1.2kW PEM fuel-cell stack, 1kW three-phase current-fed converter, and 2kW PWM inverter. The proposed system can be utilized to commercialize a real interconnection system for the fuel-cell power generation. Also, it can be applied for implementing the micro-grid. VIII. REFERENCES
[1] [2] Gregor Hoogers, "FUEL CELL TECHNOLOGY HANDBOOK", CRC Press, 2003. Mousavi, A.; Das, P.; Moschopoulos, G, A ZCS-PWM Full-Bridge Boost Converter for Fuel-Cell Applications, Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exposition, 2009. APEC 2009. Twenty-Fourth Annual IEEE 15-19 Feb. 2009 Page(s):459 464. Wingelaar, P.J.H. Duarte, J.L. Hendrix, M.A.M Dynamic Characteristics of PEM Fuel Cells, Power Electronics Specialists Conference, 2005. PESC '05. IEEE 36th, 16-16 June 2005 Page(s):1635 - 1641. Hanju Cha; Jungwan Choi; Byung-moon Han, A new three-phase interleaved isolated boost converter with active clamp for fuel cells , Power Electronics Specialists Conference, 2008. PESC 2008. IEEE 1519 June 2008 Page(s):1271 - 1276 Rathore, A.K, Bhat, A.K.S. Oruganti, R, A Comparison of SoftSwitched DC-DC Converters for Fuel Cell to Utility Interface Application, Power Conversion Conference - Nagoya, 2007. PCC '07 2-5 April 2007 Page(s):588 594. Lin, B.-R.; Hsieh, F.-Y.; Wang, D.; Huang, K., "Analysis, design and implementation of active clamp zero voltage switching converter with output ripple current cancellation", Electric Power Applications, IEE Proceedings -Volume 153, Issue 5, September 2006 Page(s):653 - 663

[3]

[4]

[5]

Fig. 9. Measured Fuel Cell Voltage and Current

[6]

Fig. 10 shows the efficiency of the three-phase DC-DC converter which was measured through experimental works. As active power increases and thus, and thus, fuel cell current increases, conduction losses in the DC-DC converter increase by the square and efficiency drops significantly. Efficiency will be improved by sizing of magnetic components suitable for 1kW power level. The efficiency of grid-tied inverter is 97%.

Fig. 10. Measured Efficiency of Converter

VII. CONCLUSION In this paper a new power conditioning system to supply the generated power from the fuel cell to the power grid. The proposed power conditioning system consists of a three-phase current-fed DC-DC converter and 3-phase inverter. The proposed converter boosts the fuel cell voltage of 26-48V up to 400V, using the zero voltage switching and three-phase DC