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International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009

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Dynamic analyses of regenerative fuel cell power for potential use in
renewable residential applications
James D. Maclay, Jacob Brouwer∗ , G. Scott Samuelsen
National Fuel Cell Research Center, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-3550, USA
Received 24 January 2005; received in revised form 21 June 2005; accepted 19 October 2005
Available online 18 January 2006

Abstract
A model of a solar-hydrogen powered residence, in both stand-alone and grid parallel configurations, was developed using
Matlab/Simulink 䉸 . The model assesses the viability of employing a regenerative fuel cell (RFC) as an energy storage device to
be used with photovoltaic (PV) electrical generation. Other modes of energy storage such as batteries and hybrid storage were
also evaluated. Analyses of various operating conditions, system configurations, and control strategies were performed. Design
requirements investigated included RFC sizing, battery sizing, charge/discharge rates, and state of charge limitations. Dynamic
load demand was found to be challenging to meet, requiring RFC and or battery sizes significantly larger than those required
to meet average power demand. Employing a RFC with batteries in a hybrid configuration increased PV utilization and both
battery efficiency and power density. Grid parallel configurations were found to alleviate many of the difficulties associated with
energy storage costs and meeting peak demand.
䉷 2005 International Association for Hydrogen Energy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Solar hydrogen; Regenerative fuel cell; Electrolyzer; Dynamic modeling; Energy storage; Renewable energy

1. Introduction
Solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays have been used to meet
electrical energy needs at the residential level for many
decades. However, one of the major challenges for PV
systems remains matching their sun dependent power
supply curve with that of the time dependent power demand of the residence. To solve this problem an energy
storage device must be used in conjunction with the PV
array. This device must store excess PV energy and subsequently deliver power at the desired time and rate. The
energy storage device that is most commonly used with
PV systems today is the rechargeable lead acid battery.
∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 949 824 7302;
fax: +1 949 824 7423.
E-mail address: jb@nfcrc.uci.edu (J. Brouwer).

With the emergence of regenerative or reversible fuel
cells (RFC), one can consider using a new energy storage device that is both analogous to rechargeable batteries and that may have unique advantages in comparison
to rechargeable batteries in this application. It is also
possible to implement a system design that uses both a
RFC and battery together in a “hybrid” energy storage
scenario that combines the strengths of each technology.
Unitized regenerative fuel cells use a single anode/cathode electrode pair that is bi-functional,
allowing RFC operation in both electrolysis and fuel cell
modes. This configuration is analogous to a rechargeable battery in that a single energy conversion unit can
operate under both charging and discharging conditions. In electrolysis mode the RFC takes in electricity
and water to produce hydrogen and oxygen. In fuel cell
mode the RFC takes in hydrogen and oxygen (or air) to

0360-3199/$30.00 䉷 2005 International Association for Hydrogen Energy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2005.10.008

(3) the hydrogen storage requirement. Batteries are also efficient devices. Kauranen. Many researchers have indicated that an appropriate and advanced control strategy is key to establishing good performance. 2. power plants for automobiles and propulsion systems for satellites [1]. achieving approximately 70–90% round trip efficiency. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 produce electricity and water. Also. and (7) hazardous waste handling during battery disposal [4]. At the building level. Although few research groups have published analyses pertaining to regenerative fuel cells as applied to solar photovoltaic energy systems. and (6) lower round-trip efficiencies of approximately 30–50%. and minivan (no fuel cell present in this system) [10]. allowing the PV-fuel cell hybrid to successfully load follow at the building scale [15]. (2) complex systems that are currently not well understood. a RFC may be preferred over individual electrolyzer and fuel cell units since the bi-functional electrodes in RFCs allow a single unit to replace two separate units. stored H2 is a multi-functional fuel that can meet other energy needs such as cooking and heating as well as fuel for vehicles. A marine laboratory at Humboldt State University has been powered successfully by solar-hydrogen for many years in a stand-alone configuration [12]. Background and related work The main groups that are advancing regenerative fuel cell systems are at NASA [2]. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory [1]. Solmecke and Hackstein have shown system efficiency and cost reduction gains that have been achieved by integration of DC–DC converters in similar systems [14]. using O2 . separate from the RFC. Vanhanen. a study of a solar-hydrogen powered library in Germany outlines the challenges to systems engineering optimization in a stand-alone configuration [11]. Round-trip efficiency can be improved by the use of separate electrolyzer and fuel cell units. At the residential level. the RFC produces hydrogen (H2 ) and oxygen (O2 ) gases that can be stored in tanks. Disadvantages of the RFC include: (1) low commercial availability. materials. The main drawbacks of lead acid battery storage technology are: (1) energy storage capacity that is proportional to battery size. This leads to longer possible energy storage capacity compared to batteries for an equivalent volume (or mass). The minimum cost design employed batteries for short-term storage and hydrogen for long-term storage [16]. and Lund employed a control strategy utilizing fuels cells to recharge batteries in the winter that allowed current control of the fuel cell and optimized fuel cell efficiency [17]. (5) desulphation of the electrodes. The main advantage of the RFC is that its energy storage capacity is independent of its size. The main advantage of using lead acid batteries with PV arrays is that they are widely used and are therefore highly available. A group from King Fahd University in Saudi Arabia has assessed the potential for solar-hydrogen to aid agricultural development by providing remote energy for . known as a “discrete reversible fuel cell”. Other groups that are more focused on bi-functional electrode or MEA development include researchers at AIST in Japan and the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics in China [7–9]. (4) limited hydrogen storage capacity of current technologies. 995 US Department of Energy [5].D. and Giner Electrochemical Systems [6]. size and weight. Maclay et al. resulting in potentially lower costs. PV-fuel cell power plant performance was shown to be enhanced by using neural network and real/reactive power controllers [18] and fuzzy logic controllers [19]. Instead of chemical energy being stored internally.J. Rahman and Tam showed that oscillations in PV power output could be effectively smoothed out by integration with phosphoric acid fuel cells. Finally. They are also being considered for use in NASA missions [2]. (2) battery recharging duration. relatively well understood and accepted by the public. (6) short battery life as applied to residential duty cycles. A large-scale study in Germany reiterates the difficulties of systems integration and also refers to the need for more basic research. (4) frequent maintenance of electrolyte levels. (3) operational limitations such as depth of discharge and low charge/discharge rates. Proton Energy Systems [3]. a single-family home in Switzerland has operated a 5 kW PV array since 1991 to produce electrolytic H2 which is then utilized to power a stove. This configuration allows independent optimization of the electrodes for both electrolysis and fuel cell modes. many have analyzed analogous systems containing fuel cells and electrolyzers as separate components [10–25]. more development projects. (5) system safety and reliability. as in the battery. better component availability. laundry machine. and cost reductions before widespread hydrogen energy storage becomes practical [13]. Vosen and Keller developed a model of a hybrid energy storage system containing batteries and hydrogen that estimated the hybrid system cost at 48% of a hydrogen-only system and only 9% of a battery-only system. Regenerative fuel cells have a wide range of potential applications including energy storage devices coupled to renewable energy sources.

comprised the primary data set for the analyses presented herein.7 W). power management. 5. 4. a new simulation tool that can account for and address dynamic operation and develop and test system control strategies was applied to renewable RFC system concepts. . The five ‘lookup’ tables utilized by the model are PV power output (kW) vs. 1. Irvine (Latitude: 33. and H2 and O2 storage tanks. hair dryer. The work contained here expands upon current understanding and addresses the dynamic performance required by the systems and system components. Batteries are typically rated in A-h for 20 h charge/discharge period. was not furnished in this particular residence. RFC. Approach As the Background section suggests there has been significant recent attention and interest in application of electrolyzers and fuel cells (or RFCs) to renewable energy systems. residential power demand (kW) vs. Solar-hydrogen has been proposed as a viable means of powering fuel cell buses throughout Europe [21]. A week of data.e. 24 h/day. microwave. In order to analyze the performance of regenerative fuel cells as energy storage devices at the residential level. These data were directly used to develop the Simulink 䉸 residential power demand table. BMI’s PQ NodeTM data acquisition software was used to collect power usage on a time interval of every 5 min. fresh water.7 W) using a BMI Dranetz power quality meter (Model 8020 PQ Node). and fertilizers by using H2 for ammonia synthesis [20]. Air conditioning. battery. time (s). time (s)) data were collected from a 6-person family home in Irvine California (Latitude: 33.1. acquired from 8/2/03–8/9/03. For example.6 N. Maclay et al. Schematic of Simulink 䉸 renewable RFC system model. In addition.D. The meter uses inductor clips applied to the 120 and the 240 V legs of the utility grid power coming into the home as a means of measuring power usage. television. time (s)) were determined by measurement of a Unisolar 6 kW nominal DC amorphous PV array installed at the University of California. The major electrical devices used within the residence included a stove and oven. acquired from 8/2/01–8/9/01. an empirical model of a PV-RFC powered home was constructed using MATLAB䉸 /Simulink 䉸 . The empirical model incorporates experimental data into Simulink 䉸 by using ‘look-up’ tables. comprised the primary data set for the analyses presented herein. and battery voltage (V) vs. a number of groups have focused on the economic and environmental aspects of solar-hydrogen use [22–25]. residential power demand. 24 h/day. The model contains eight main components. These data were directly used to develop the Simulink 䉸 PV output table. electrolyzer power density (W/cm2 ) vs. Dynamic data The dynamic data for PV power output (kW vs. The model was run as both a stand-alone system autonomous of the grid. 1. the 20 h charge/discharge rate in amps (i. where all of the power demand in the residence is met by the PV Residential Power Demand Power Management Utility Grid Battery RFC PV Power Supply H2 Storage Fig. C/10 and C/20. The model assumes RFC operation on oxygen not air. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 pumping and irrigation.. Model 5. current density (A/cm2 ). refrigerator. Finally. Model components A schematic of the renewable RFC system configuration considered in the current work is presented in Fig.6 N. computers and lighting. time (s). washer and dryer. fuel cell power density (W/cm2 ) vs. coffee maker. Longitude: 117. current density (A/cm2 ). PV power supply. The oven was determined to account for some of the largest peaks observed during evening hours. One week of data.996 J. The dynamic data for residential power demand (kW vs. A-h/h) for a 100 A-h battery is denoted as C/20. 3. If the same 100 A-h battery is discharged over a period of 5 h the C/5 charge/discharge rate would not be 20 A for the 5 h. a battery rated for 100 A-h can deliver 5 A for 20 h. utility grid power supply. Typically the C/5 charge/discharge rate would be less than a C/10 or C/20 charge/discharge rate due to inefficiencies associated with increased current draw. state of charge (%) at charge/discharge rates of C/5. Thus. which is common to many of the residences throughout the Western US. LabViewTM data acquisition software was used to collect power output data on a time interval of every 15 min. Longitude: 117.

(This logic also applies to the electrolyzer in the stand alone scenario. they do not include efficiency losses at the stack level or parasitic losses at the system level. Model control strategy Various power flow control strategies are under investigation in the current study. This will show how the fuel cell is affected in terms of current density and efficiency when meeting the dynamic load. The simulated fuel cell power density (W/cm2 ) vs.) (b) In the grid parallel scenario. 5. Proper sizing of the fuel cell can then be accomplished. representing empirical models for the fuel cell and electrolyzer. then use the battery to meet the load (Again. The battery voltage (V) vs. see #3). the state of charge limitation must be met as well as the charge rate limitation. The control strategy presented in this paper consists of a hierarchy of power flow through the system as presented in Fig. Maclay et al. PV Power 2.94 and 0. If there is excess power and the battery is fully charged. Although Giner’s empirical VI curves include efficiency losses at the single cell level. 6. If there is a deficit of power and the battery performance cannot meet the residential power demand. Control strategy for the Simulink 䉸 renewable RFC system model. 2. the state of charge limitation must be met as well as the discharge rate limitation. state of charge (%) conditions were based upon experimental data [27] collected from two Trojan L-16W deep cycle 6V lead-acid batteries in series. Fuel cell has specific performance limitations as follows: (a) In the stand-alone scenario. (b) Charge/discharge rates can be selected from three specific settings = C/5.47 V and a total current density range of between 50 and 1000 mA/cm2 . 2. and C/20. Although. 101 kPa during fuel cell mode and 207 kPa during electrolysis mode. if system VI curves are available they could easily be substituted into the model. the fuel cell is limited to a voltage level between 0. 5. (However. a 100 A-h battery being charged or discharged over 20 h = C/20 = 5 A). Power to Grid 1. 5. The Giner data is presented in the form of cell voltage (V) vs. and C/20 charge/discharge rates. rated at 350 A-h (20 h rate). Battery Power 3.J. Hydrogen crossover losses through the membrane should be accounted for. For example.D. current density (A/cm2 ) and electrolyzer power density (W/cm2 ) vs. Grid Power Fig. see #3). 5. current density (A/cm2 ) operational curves were developed using experimental PEM regenerative fuel cell data for a single cell collected by Giner Electrochemical Systems [26]. It is assumed that the RFC is regulated to operate at the pressures given in the VI curves which are. power is sent to the electrolyzer to make H2 . FC Power L o a d 4. since they are inherent to the VI curve. Electrolyzer has specific performance limitations as follows: (a) In the stand-alone scenario the electrolyzer has no current or power density limits. Store H2 7. PV power is first sent to meet residential load demands. 2. Model control strategy & component operational limitations The control strategy employed for this paper. then the load is met by the fuel cell. (See explana- . 3. (a) If excess PV power is available. Battery model includes specific performance limitations as follows: (a) State of charge (SOC) range = 85–20%. Crossover should also be minimal due to low pressure operation. together with various model component limitations is defined as follows: 1. 4. PV power is sent next to the battery. (Charge rate is calculated by dividing the ampere-hour rating of the battery by time in hours.3. the fuel cell has no current or power density limits. Electrolyzer 6. with an interest in H2 generation performance. Individual curves were used for the C/5. then charge the battery.2. C/10. the lack of limits is unrealistic it will allow insight into how the fuel cell would have to perform if it were not controlled. 997 7. current density (mA/cm2 ). C/10. This data was converted to the appropriate units and assembled into Simulink 䉸 tables. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 and the energy storage device(s) and as a grid parallel system where power can be supplied by and fed to the grid. However. (b) If PV power cannot meet the residential load demand.

4. and F is Faraday’s constant (=96. G is the change in Gibb’s free energy and H is the change in enthalpy through the fuel cell. allowing solution of Eq. (b) Excess PV power production is fed to the grid when the control limits of the battery and electrolyzer are not met.47 V at 1000 mA/cm2 . The second configuration comprised a 5. Operation without the minimum power limitation was also analyzed in the grid parallel configuration. Defining electrode area with a single value is equivalent to constructing a stack in series. The reason for this choice is two-fold: (1) bulk phase charging is accomplished at constant current justifying the choice of a constant charge rate and simplifying the model. The maximum fuel cell operating point chosen was for 0. Mol H2 = nF (1) where I is current.42 and 1. Model grid parallel analysis When employed as a grid parallel device the 2 kW fuel cell has operational limitations of 0. current density plot [26].9 kW fuel cell has operational limitations of 0. These processes are slow and inefficient processes. 5.3 kW while the 22 kW electrolyzer 5. This selection of operating conditions allowed the RFC to be sized for a maximum power output (kW) based on a single variable electrode size input to the model. Model stand-alone analysis Two different fuel cell and electrolyzer design and sizing strategies were analyzed in the current effort.75 V at 1000 mA/cm2 . The maximum electrolyzer operating point chosen was for 1.3 and 7.9 kW maximum. and number of batteries. 8.998 J.2 kW minimum and 2 kW maximum and the 5. Model solution and analyses Electrolytic H2 production is calculated using:  I dt. operates between 0. Electrochemical fuel cell efficiency is commonly defined using the 1st law of thermodynamics [29] as fc = Energy out Wout G = = . However. (b) In the grid parallel scenario.3 kW maximum electrolyzer based on a 4167 cm2 electrode size were analyzed. n is the number of participating electrons. . In the first stand-alone configuration. In a PV-battery system (with no RFC) the battery would most likely be fully recharged to a 100% SOC in an effort to capture excess PV energy whenever it is available. Incoming PV power in watts (W) is divided by electrode area (cm2 ) and then fed into the Simulink 䉸 model as a power density (W/cm2 ) providing a resultant current density (A/cm2 ) that is then multiplied by electrode area (cm2 ) to give amperes.6 kW minimum and 5. When employed as a grid parallel device the 7.9 and 22 kW. (1). when charging above 85% SOC the battery enters first absorption phase and then float phase charging. 5.3 kW electrolyzer has operational limitations of between 0. initial state of charge (0–1). a 2 kW maximum fuel cell and 7. Energy in Qin H (2) where Wout is the electrical work output. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 tion above in Section a) of fuel cell performance limits. In the grid parallel scenario: (a) Residential power demand is met by the grid when the control limits of the battery and RFC are not met. the electrolyzer requires voltages of between 1.8.7. Qin is fuel energy input. 5.9 kW maximum fuel cell and 22 kW maximum electrolyzer based on a 12501 cm2 electrode size. Model regenerative fuel cell sizing RFC electrode size (cm2 ) was determined by choosing the maximum operating point from the cell voltage vs. 485 C/mol). Model battery sizing The battery design is user-defined in the current model in terms of size in A-h. 5. which can be avoided in the case when an electrolyzer is included in the system design. Charge and discharge rates for the battery were varied in the current analyses from C/5 to C/10 to C/20 to assess the effect of these limitations on the overall system performance. The first design configuration used smaller (lower cost) RFC components while the second configuration used larger (more efficient) RFC components.5. A SOC range of 20–85% was used in order to keep current within the bulk phase charging range [28].75 V and current densities of operation are limited to the 50–1000 mA/cm2 range.6. and (2) bulk phase charging allows the battery to operate at a high and relatively constant efficiency of approximately 98% [28].D. Maclay et al. All design point values reported in this paper are for maximum conditions.

(load) H2 produced H2 . G is the change in Gibbs free energy for the reaction and H is the change in enthalpy for the reaction.J. H2 produced. Battery energy consumed by the residence is calculated using: kWhbattery = (4) where T is temperature in Kelvin and S is the change in entropy for the reaction. = Energy in Win G (3) where Win is electrical work input. Table 1 summarizes the Gibbs free energy and enthalpy values for hydrogen used in fuel cell and electrolyzer efficiency calculations. System efficiency (stand-alone) was calculated using: system = (5) 999 kWh(load) + kWh(H2 produced) . (1000 W/kW) (6) where SOCi is initial state of charge. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 Electrochemical electrolyzer efficiency is also commonly defined using the 1st law of thermodynamics [29] as ez = Energy out Qout H = . Since bulk phase charging of the battery is utilized. Win value reported in Table 1. As a result in the current work we define and calculate electrochemical fuel cell and electrolyzer efficiencies using a 2nd law of thermodynamics approach as fc = Useful energy out Useful energy out(theoretical) = Wout −H + T S(theoretical) = Wout . −G(theoretical) ez = Energy required(theoretical) Actual useful energy in = H − T S(theoretical) Win = G(theoretical) . These values in parentheses reflect the results for the case of substituting the enthalpy values in Table 1 for the Gibbs free energy values in the model. RFC efficiency calculations assume that the system is isothermal at 80 ◦ C and that there is no energy loss due to ancillary system components such as H2 and O2 compressors or inverters. plus the amount of battery energy consumed (Bi − Bf ) and the energy from the grid (from grid) all being defined in kilowatt-hours (kWh). (8) kWh(P V + (Bi − Bf ) + f rom grid) where the energy of the load. battery efficiency is assumed to be constant at 98%. The fuel cell efficiency is calculated using the G(theoretical) (SOCi − SOCf )∗ (A-h)∗ (Vd ) . and electrical energy to the grid (to grid). The same G(theoretical) value was also used in all H2 production calculations.31] as it fails to take into account the effects of entropy generation. battery size is defined in Ampere∗hour(A-h). which since higher than the value at standard pressure will reduce fuel cell efficiency in proportion to the energy required to pressurize the hydrogen. since this was not a concern of this study and since the original renewable solar energy is both emissions and cost free. Maclay et al. assuming that all H2 generated will be consumed later during fuel cell use. is divided by electrical energy from the photovoltaics (PV). Results for system efficiency and H2 energy generated are the only other values that will change from 2nd law to 1st law analyses and are not shown. Vd is the discharge voltage of the battery and kWh is energy in kilowatt-hours. and amount of battery energy consumed are all defined in kilowatt-hours (kWh). this 1st law of thermodynamics analysis for an electrolyzer can lead to efficiencies exceeding 100% [30. However. Qout is fuel energy output. This pressure effect on G is accounted for using the Nernst equation.D. all data tables included 1st law fuel cell and electrolyzer efficiency values in parentheses. Although this study uses 2nd law efficiency analyses. System efficiency calculations do not take PV efficiency into account. PV. System efficiency (grid parallel) was calculated using: system = kWh(load + H2 + to grid) . The Gibbs energy value is greater during fuel cell operation due to the higher pressure used versus electrolyzer operation [26]. The system of equations and tables which define each of the components of the integrated system together with the logic involved with the control strategy are solved versus time in the dynamic . The amorphous silicon PV arrays used in this study are generally on the order of 5% efficient in converting solar irradiance to electricity. the results for efficiency and H2 energy reported reflect RFC internal performance only. All other results reflect 2nd law analyses. SOCf is final state of charge. kWh(PV) + kWh(battery consumed) (7) where the energy of the load. Thus.

However.3.4% load coverage by energy storage for the stand-alone system configuration. The wide variation and highly dynamic behavior observed at the residential level portends significant challenges for stand-alone RFC system design configurations. The measured residential electrical energy demand over the span of the week totals 108. This amounts to 33.19 1.3 ft 2 . 3. Initial analysis focused on modeling a stand-alone system.18 80 80 207 101 Fuel cell Electrolyzer H (theoretical)H2 −287. This results from of the ability of the larger components (fuel cell and electrolyzer) to meet higher power requirements that occur in the form of transient power spikes while operating at lower power . Weekly energy output from the PV array totals 224. such as in the winter.3.6% load coverage by PV and a need for 66. It can be seen that on average a 2 kW power supply is sufficient to meet the majority of residential power demands. to meet this demand one would need 50 batteries operating at 6 V and 350 A-h (20 h rate) each.949 1. relative tolerance of 10−6 .965 −285. 6. and maximum step size of 300 seconds. In this scenario there are no maximum or minimum operational control limits set on the fuel cell or electrolyzer.1 kW is required to meet the peak demand. absolute tolerance of 10−9 . Considering the Trojan L-16W battery as an example. The system was first modeled using the regenerative fuel cell as the only means of energy storage. H2 generation and current density). operation without control limits allows us to study the effect of relying on the fuel cell to supply all load demand in excess of what the PV can supply and the effect of supplying all excess PV power production to the electrolyzer (especially with respect to efficiency. Assuming an average energy demand of 15 kWh/day.840 141. 4. Demand spans the week of 8/2/03–8/9/03. using a variable step-size.800 NA NA 80 80 207 101 MATLAB Simulink䉸 environment. California residence is presented in Fig. and batteries.8 kWh with 36. The results of the stand-alone analyses of various RFC system configurations are summarized in Table 2.1. being temperature sensitive. This translates to a surface area of 28.2.1. Stand-alone system analysis In a grid autonomous or ‘stand alone’ PV-battery system. Table 2 shows that the round trip efficiency increases as the system component size increases. Measured residential power demand The residential load demand as measured in an Irvine.3 kWh of that total that can be used to directly power the residence (concurrent with demand).1 kW peak demand of the residence. 3. 6. Measured photovoltaic power supply Photovoltaic power used in the Simulink䉸 PV model is presented in Fig. the energy required for one-week totals 105 kWh. This profile of PV output power data was measured from the 6 kW amorphous silicon installation described above that spans the week of 8/2/01–8/9/01.800 −227.1 kWh. there is insufficient PV power to supply the 8. 6. The MATLAB䉸 integrator used to simultaneously solve the sets of equations that describe the integrated RFC systems was ODE45 (Dormand-Prince). Major peaks in the evening are believed to be due to an electric oven and/or electric washer/dryer. capabilities and sizing. assuming 100% efficiency. 6. should be stored indoors. as much as 8. This was also done as a means of accounting for all of the power supply and load demand in the system. with all residential power demand met by a combination of PV power and energy storage devices.988 112. Although unrealistic.1000 J.D.705 113. Regenerative fuel cell as sole energy storage device. the energy storage device must be properly sized to meet all energy demand over potentially long periods of low solar irradiance. Based on Fig. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 Table 1 Gibbs free energy and enthalpy values for hydrogen used in fuel cell and electrolyzer efficiency calculations along with equivalent higher heating values (HHV) and cell voltages Energy values G(theoretical)H2 (J/mol) HHV (kJ/kg) Voltage (V) Temperature (◦ C) Pressure (kPa) Fuel cell Electrolyzer −229. during storms or long periods of overcast skies. Maclay et al. Results 6.869 142.

For the system configuration containing a 2 kW fuel cell and 7. California.5 3 2.5 0 8/2/01 8/3/01 8/4/01 8/5/01 8/6/01 8/7/01 8/8/01 8/9/01 Fig.J.5 1 0.78 A/cm2 at 0.34 V according to the expected VI performance of the fuel cell. Maclay et al. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 1001 9 8 Power Demand (kW) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 8/2/03 8/3/03 8/4/03 8/5/03 8/6/03 8/7/03 8/8/03 8/9/03 Fig. density conditions. This condition .5 2 1. This corresponds to 5.95 W/cm2 . 4.D.5 4 PV Power (kW) 3.1 kW the 2 kW fuel cell would need to produce electricity at a maximum power density of 1. This lower power density operation results in higher efficiency for both the fuel cell and the electrolyzer. In order to supply the residential peak demand of 8. 5 4. 3.3 kW electrolyzer there is a deficit of H2 to keep the fuel cell running. Electrical load demand for a six-person family home in Irvine. Photovoltaic electrical power supply from a Unisolar 6 kW DC nominal amorphous silicon array.

45 V is much more reasonable and correspondingly leads to higher fuel cell efficiency. at 1. 5. as battery size increases fuel cell use decreases and electrolyzer use increases.25% 74. then one would need a 8. Therefore.1 kW maximum fuel cell to fully meet the 8. Initially. as is done in the grid parallel scenario.47% 79. For the system configuration containing a 5.3 kW 1. This translates to the need for 24 Trojan L-16W batteries (2 in series and 12 in parallel).04 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 (34%) (93.60% 0% 33.7%) (99. The model restricts the battery’s state of charge to values between 20% and 85%. As a result system efficiency increases with increasing battery capacity since the battery is more efficient than the fuel cell at providing electricity and the electrolyzer receives more excess PV power and produces more H2 . allowing the use of fast charge/discharge rates.64 kWh 5.21% 0% 24. the lower average power density demand.47 V. Maclay et al.58% 0% 0% 38. at 1 A/cm2 and 0.4%) (99.47 W/cm2 . and H2 energy production plotted against battery size for a stand-alone system with a maximum 2 kW fuel cell and 7.88% 65. system efficiency. The system configuration could use a RFC together with batteries in a hybrid energy storage system.9%) (93%) 46.9 kW 0.42% 0% 33.88% 50.58% 27.27% 41.40% 35.3 kW electrolyzer. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 Table 2 Summary results from the dynamic analyses of stand-alone (not grid-connected) RFC systems as applied to a dynamic residential load Without battery With battery 500 A-h Without battery With battery 500 A-h Fuel cell size Max fuel cell power density Min fuel cell power density Electrolyzer size Max electrolyzer power density Min electrolyzer power density (Fuel cell 1st law efficiency) (Electrolyzer 1st law efficiency) Fuel cell 2nd law efficiency Electrolyzer 2nd law efficiency Round trip efficiency System efficiency % Load powered by fuel cell % Load powered by grid % Load powered by PV % Load powered by battery % Power to grid Energy of H2 generated 2 kW 1.58% 31.9 kW 0.70% 66. 5 explores the effect of battery size on the stand alone system using a 2 kW fuel cell and 7. and the RFC is no longer needed.65 W/cm2 .2%) 64.63% 38. This SOC limit restricts battery charge/discharge to within the bulk phase range.85% 0% 59. assuming a capacity of 290 A-h when using C/5 charge/discharge rates. . In addition.58% 0% 0% −14. electrolyzer. This is due to a control hierarchy that uses the battery before the fuel cell to meet load demand resulting in battery power meeting more of Efficiency Stand-alone analyses 0 -20 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 Battery Size (A-hr) Fig. The next step of the study involved simulating such a hybrid configuration by adding a battery to the RFC system.4%) 63.4%) 41.24 kWh Fuel Cell Efficiency System Effciency Electrolyzer Efficency H2 Storage (kWh) 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 80 60 40 20 H2 Storage (kWh) is unreasonable.04 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 (36.9 kW fuel cell the maximum power density of 0.54% 58.44% 30.41% 78. a charge rate of C/5 was chosen for the current analyses. It is observed that when the battery is sized at 3500 A-h it can supply all the necessary energy storage. as battery size increases fuel cell efficiency decreases.67 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 7.95 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 7.24% 73.35 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 (50.1002 J.56 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 22 kW 0.3 kW 1.24% 0% 33.35 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 (51.09% 34.42% 0% 33.1 kW peak. at the scale of the fuel cell studied here.16% 50. Fig.65 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 22 kW 0.D.02% 74. Fuel cell efficiency begins to increase when battery size becomes large enough (around 3000 A-h) to offset high power density demand spikes normally sent to the fuel cell. Fuel cell. the power system would either have to be grid parallel or rely on a secondary energy storage device.3 kW electrolyzer. If the fuel cell is restricted to an operational power density limit of 0.32 kWh 2 kW 1. battery operation is limited to charge/discharge rates that range from C/5 to C/20 (as defined in the Section 3).79 kWh 5.44 A/cm2 and 0.33% 66. For this reason. Typically.

9 kW fuel cell and 22 kW electrolyzer. There is a 16% increase in efficiency when using the 2 kW fuel cell in the grid parallel scenario compared to the stand-alone scenario. the RFC can be run more efficiently by limiting its use to a maximum power output. Maclay et al. The model was run both with and without minimum limits as a means of studying the effect of their use. Trends similar to those of Fig. The cause of this unfavorable result is the control hierarchy that preferentially uses batteries to meet power demand. Since the grid can now supply energy to the home. Therefore. more of the lower power density load demand becomes accessible to it. as electrode size decreases for the fuel cell. electrolyzer.47 V and 50–1000 mA/cm2 .3 kW electrolyzer system. The main difference is that all efficiencies are increased as a result of scaling up RFC capacity. there is only a slight reduction in capacity required for the 2 kW fuel cell system compared to the 5. Despite the drop in maximum power density through the fuel cell there is a decrease in fuel cell efficiency (from 46.9 kW fuel cell system configuration. The major benefits are increases in H2 production capacity and system efficiency and a decrease in the maximum power density operation required from the fuel cell.9 kW fuel cell and 22 kW electrolyzer. Despite the drop in 1003 maximum power density through the fuel cell there is a decrease in fuel cell efficiency. The minimum limit is used assuming that there is a power threshold that is needed to drive the process of electrolysis and a minimum that is desired when using fuel cell power. the fuel cell operates at an average higher power density (and lower efficiency) to meet peaks in the dynamic load demand profile of the residence. The major benefits of this system configuration (presented in the last column of Table 2) are increases in H2 production capacity and system efficiency and a decrease in the maximum power density through the fuel cell.501 cm2 electrode). 6.D.4. 6. 6 explores the effect of battery size on the standalone system using a 5. Regenerative fuel cell as sole energy storage device The grid parallel system was initially analyzed using the regenerative fuel cell as the only means of energy storage.3% to 41. As a result. This trend is reversed when the minimum power density limit is removed from the model resulting in higher efficiency for the 5. 5 are observed in Fig. Comparing Figs. For the current analyses. system efficiency. The reason for this is that the grid handles the power spikes associated with peak .1 kW peak in load demand.Fuel Cell Efficiency System Effciency Electrolyzer Efficency H2 Storage (kWh) 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 H2 Storage (kWh) Efficiency J.9 kW fuel cell system (from 3500 A-h (24 batteries) to 3400 A-h (23 batteries)). and H2 energy production plotted against battery size for a stand-alone system with a maximum 5. Fig.75 V and 50–1000 mA/cm2 . although this effect is not as pronounced as with the 2 kW fuel cell (from 64. Grid parallel system analysis 6.1. Tables 3 and 4 show the results of dynamic simulation of the home with various RFC system configurations as grid parallel systems.9 kW fuel cell and 22 kW electrolyzer. Fuel cell. due again to the battery meeting more of the lower average power demands. In electrolyzer mode.4% to 63.4. power density through the fuel cell is lower on average when it is sized at 2 kW (4167 cm2 electrode) than when it is sized at 5. These results are highly dependent on the operational control limits set for the RFC as shown in Tables 3 and 4. operation of the RFC is restricted to 1. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 3500 Battery Size (A-hr) Fig. The results of the grid parallel analyses are summarized in Tables 3 and 4. 5 and 6 in terms of the battery capacity needed to meet all energy storage needs independent of the RFC. the fuel cell mode of operation is restricted to between 0.94–0.5%). making it run more efficiently at 2 kW. Table 2 displays the effect of adding 500 A-h of battery capacity to the system containing a 5.42–1. which affects the average power density at which both electrolysis and fuel cell operation must occur to meet dynamic power demand.9 kW (12. As battery capacity increases fuel cell use decreases ultimately resulting in the singular role of assisting the battery in meeting the 8. Table 2 displays the effect of adding 500 A-h of battery capacity to the 2 kW fuel cell and 7. In this scenario there are both maximum and minimum operational control limits set for power density through the fuel cell and electrolyzer. 6.0%) due to the battery power provision to meet the lower average power density load demands. In the case of using the minimum power density limit (last column of Tables 3 and 4).

75 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 (49.87% 78.54 kWh load demand.9 kW 0. This result reveals the design challenge for sizing and operating characteristics for a .21% 1.58% 12.3 kW 1.78% 17.09% 46.75 W/cm2 0.47 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 22 kW 1.501 cm2 electrode) versus 7.82% 33.9 kW fuel cell.58% 0% 0.59% 0.09% 33.91 kWh Table 4 Summary results from the dynamic analyses of grid-connected RFC systems as applied to a dynamic residential load for system configuration containing a 5.93% 66.85% 33.85% 26.9 kW fuel cell (Table 4) in the grid parallel scenario (upper control limit only) compared to the stand-alone.47 W/cm2 0.47 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 7. operating power density of the electrolyzer is lower on average when it is sized at 22 kW (12.071 W/cm2 (49.25% 26.02% 42.58% 0% 0% 53.37% 55.18% 74.58% 31. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 Table 3 Summary results from the dynamic analyses of grid-connected RFC systems as applied to a dynamic residential load for system configuration containing a 2 kW fuel cell and 7.63% 15.047 W/cm2 7.047 W/cm2 22 kW 1.66% 33.9 kW 0. making it more efficient at 22 kW.47 W/cm2 0.167 cm2 electrode).05% 45.047 W/cm2 7.1004 J.09% 46.47 W/cm2 0.58% 0% 2.48 kWh 2 kW 0.31% 73.9%) (93.55% 74.26% 70.1%) (99%) 78.33 kWh 2 kW 0.06% 74. Maclay et al.9 kW fuel cell and 22 kW electrolyzer Grid-parallel analyses With lower limit Without lower limit With lower limit 500 A-h battery Fuel cell size Max fuel cell power density Min fuel cell power density Electrolyzer size Max electrolyzer power density Min electrolyzer power density (Fuel cell 1st law efficiency) (Electrolyzer 1st law efficiency) Fuel cell 2nd law efficiency Electrolyzer 2nd law efficiency System efficiency % Load powered by fuel cell % Load powered by grid % Load powered by PV % Load powered by battery % Power to grid Energy of H2 generated 5.75 W/cm2 0 W/cm2 (52.071 W/cm2 (47.19% 68.78% 50. This is due to the fact that the grid provides less than 1% of the load demand when using a 5.3 kW (4.58% 0% 0% 42.34% 66.D.75 W/cm2 0.071 W/cm2 (47.85% 0. allowing the fuel cell to run at an average lower power density.81% 33.4%) 59.68% 65.9 kW 0.43% 8.5%) (98.36% 24.47 W/cm2 0.75 W/cm2 0.96% 67.41% 44.071 W/cm2 (48.047 W/cm2 22 kW 1.75 W/cm2 0.3%) 79. There is only a 1% increase in efficiency observed for the 5.58% 27. As electrolyzer electrode size increases.88% 47.3 kW 1.0%) 62.6%) 78.44 kWh 5.33% 48. the power density of operation is lower on average.5%) (93.51% 73.99% 51.3 kW electrolyzer Grid-parallel analyses With lower limit Without lower limit With lower limit 500 A-h battery Fuel cell size Max fuel cell power density Min fuel cell power density Electrolyzer size Max electrolyzer power density Min electrolyzer power density (Fuel cell 1st law efficiency) (Electrolyzer 1st law efficiency) Fuel cell 2nd law efficiency Electrolyzer 2nd law efficiency Round trip efficiency System efficiency % Load powered by fuel cell % Load powered by grid % Load powered by PV % Load powered by battery % Power to grid Energy of H2 generated 2 kW 0. Therefore.5%) (93%) 62.5%) (99.55% 74.01 kWh 5.02% 33.3 kW 1.

Residential power demand supplied by the grid when using a 2 kW fuel cell and 7. The electrolyzer produces more stored H2 when the lower limit on power density is employed. 7. 8.3 kW electrolyzer. regardless of fuel cell size. 6.5 1 0.5 0 0 100000 200000 300000 400000 500000 600000 Time (s) Fig.D. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 1005 7 6 Grid Power (kW) 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 100000 200000 300000 400000 500000 600000 Time (s) Fig. and the control hierarchy with both maximum and minimum limits on power density is presented in Fig.3 kW electrolyzer and no battery.96 kW whenever PV power is not available. When only the maximum power density limit is employed . regenerative fuel cell (the bi-functional electrode size must be the same for both modes). A combination of RFC electrode size and RFC operational power density control limits requires that the grid handle load demand that is either below 0.J.9 kW fuel cell and 22 kW electrolyzer and no battery. Residential power demand supplied by the grid when using a 5.20 kW or above 1.5 Grid Power (kW) 2 1.2.4. This is a result of the fuel cell being used less and therefore consuming less H2 . 2. This is due to the fact that the upper limit on power density through the electrolyzer is not exceeded in either of the analyses. 7. Electrolyzer efficiency for a given size remains relatively constant when comparing the grid parallel results (Tables 3 and 4) to the stand-alone cases (Table 2). Power demand met by the grid The fraction of the residential load demand that is supplied by the grid for the system configuration containing a 2 kW fuel cell 7. Maclay et al.

9) compared to the 2 kW stand-alone fuel cell configuration (Fig. The same benefits and drawbacks as those observed and stated for the stand-alone configuration were observed in the grid-parallel configuration. Fuel cell.D. Percent of total energy demand provided from the grid.4 batteries. serving only the function of assisting the battery in meeting the 8.3 kW electrolyzer. There is a pattern to power source usage in this system configuration. Percent Energy Use 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 Battery Size (A-hr) Fig.the grid supplies only peak demand in excess of 1. 9 presents analyses results that explore the effect of battery size on the grid parallel system comprised of a 2 kW fuel cell and 7.3 kW electrolyzer. As battery capacity increases fuel cell and grid use both decrease. The PV provides 33. 7 and 8 reveal that the grid handles mostly transient and large power spikes when a 2 kW fuel cell is employed and handles mostly baseline power demand when a 5. regardless of system sizing.3. 9. as the sun rises PV power takes over all demand until in the late day when peak demand requires the use of all sources. In the dark early hours of the morning the fully charged battery meets all load demand. and H2 energy production plotted against battery size for a grid parallel system using a maximum 2 kW fuel cell and 7. system efficiency. and a 500 A-h battery as representative of the series of simulations analyzed in the current effort. in the grid parallel scenario. the battery takes over until its SOC reaches 20% requiring the fuel cell to power all load demand into the next day until PV power is sufficient to meet load demand and recharge the batteries. As peak demand diminishes in the late evening. When only the maximum power density limit is employed the grid supplies only peak demand in excess of 5. Fuel Cell Efficiency System Effciency Electrolyzer Efficency H2 Storage (kWh) 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 H2 Storage (kWh) J. Maclay et al. The fuel cell and the battery provide roughly equal amounts of the load demand for a battery size of 500 A-h.9 kW fuel cell and 22 kW electrolyzer system configuration and the control hierarchy with both maximum and minimum limits on power density is presented in Fig. Regenerative fuel cell and batteries as hybrid energy storage devices Fig. % From Grid % Fuel Cell % To Grid % Battery 6. resulting in the need for 66. The simulation results are plotted versus time with 1-s resolution for the entire one-week dynamic simulation.3 kW electrolyzer using the control hierarchy with both maximum and minimum limits on power density. where battery capacity can now be reduced from 23 to 3.88 kW. 10 presents simulation results that explore the effect of battery size on percent usage of different power source options for a grid parallel system using a 2 kW fuel cell and 7. 5) from 3500 A-h (24 batteries) to 3400 A-h (23 batteries).1 kW peak inload demand. There is only a slight reduction in the battery capacity needed for the 2 kW grid-parallel fuel cell configuration (Fig.96 kW.88 kW.59 kW or above 5. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 Efficiency 1006 0 0 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 Battery Size (A-hr) Fig.6% of the load in each case. a 7. The PV power output in this study represents the time of . Fig. electrolyzer. whenever PV power is not available or sufficient. 10 provides insight into how residential load demand is shared between the different power sources as the battery size is increased. 11 reveals the fraction of total load demand that is met by each power source for the week using a system configuration comprised of a 2 kW fuel cell.4% coverage via energy storage. Sizing the system at this point would allow a load sharing strategy. respectively. Fig. Fig. The fraction of the load demand that is supplied by the grid when using the 5. As was the case when scaling up fuel cell capacity.4. all power and energy needs can be met. fuel cell or battery as well as energy fed to the grid vs.3 kW electrolyzer. battery size for a grid parallel system using a 2 kW fuel cell and 7.9 kW fuel cell is employed.3 kW electrolyzer. this result is due to the battery having priority over the RFC and the grid in meeting load demand within the control hierarchy. Figs. A combination of RFC electrode sizing and RFC operational power density limits requires that the grid handle load demand that is either below 0. Of course. 8. 10.

and an increase in H2 energy storage of 70 kWh.D. battery. 7.1. Using maximum and minimum operational power density limits. In winter there will be more reliance on the RFC as there is less solar energy available to power the residence and recharge the battery. • We observed numerous advantages when operating the 2 kW fuel cell as grid parallel verses stand-alone. • System efficiency improvements are a combination of higher fuel cell efficiency. it must operate at very high power densities which will most likely cause irreversible damage to the cells or at the least result in poor operational efficiency. • There is virtually no change in efficiency for the 7. As a result. • When energy storage demand is met by a combination of both RFC and batteries. • Many of the residences that utilize PV to meet electrical power needs. Maclay et al. 11. 26% increase in system efficiency.0 kWh/day and average daily residential energy demand was 15. We modeled this configuration by adding operational control limits to the RFC. year with the strongest solar irradiance. it becomes clear that control strategy is very important. • The model shows that when a RFC is employed as the sole energy storage device in a stand-alone scenario. • The vast improvement in fuel cell efficiency is a result of sending the major power spikes present at peak demand to the grid. Stand-alone • The average daily PV energy supply over the week analyzed was 32. • Energy storage devices must possess a mixture of both high energy density to meet energy needs over long durations and high power density to handle transient peaks and provide power that can meet the highly dynamic load profile of a residence.3 kW electrolyzer when comparing grid parallel and stand alone analyses. • Only the maximum control limit should be applied to the fuel cell.J. and more reliance on the grid. size the PV and batteries to minimize cost and then use the utility grid in parallel to provide power demand in excess of what the system can provide. Grid parallel 7. . Discussion 7. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 PV Power Battery Power Fuel Cell Power 1007 Grid Power 8 7 Power (kW) 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 86564 173126 259688 346251 432814 519376 Time (s) Fig. a time when PV power supply is often low if not zero.3 kW electrolyzer and 500 A-h battery. there was a 16% increase in fuel cell efficiency. fuel cell and grid) for the week when using a 2 kW fuel cell. Fraction of total load demand met by each power source (PV. 7. stand-alone systems must incorporate energy storage devices sized to handle the majority of peak load demand. The RFC is uncontrolled in the stand-alone analyses which is unrealistic but instructional. greater H2 production capabilities. when employing the grid parallel verses the stand-alone configuration. • Peak load demand was found to typically exist during morning and evening hours.4 kWh/day.2.

Drawbacks of combining a RFC and batteries in a hybrid energy storage configuration were found to include: (1) the efficiency of the fuel cell decreases as a result of being coupled to a battery when our control strategy is employed. increasing PV utilization. Since the grid acts as a high power density device. Myers B.D. Frank Holcomb. [10] Hollmuller P. [9] Ioroi T. Weisberg AH. The design of both the batteries and the RFC are significantly challenged by the task of meeting the highly dynamic and relatively high peak residential demand. Evaluation of a 5 kWp photovoltaic hydrogen production and storage installation for a residential home in Switzerland. (2) the RFC allows the battery to operate at bulk phase charge/discharge rates. Using the current control strategy.htm.79:82–5. LLC delivers a lightweight. Baolian Y. fuel cell charging of the battery. Pavlov D. [8] Zhigang S. Winter operation may have significantly different results and therefore a year long study should be conducted to account for seasonal variability and to shed light on true system component sizing needs. Tanaka T. [4] Papazov G. (3) significant reductions in system size are not realized employing our control strategy. Major advantages of hybrid energy storage systems will only be realized when one of the energy storage components has inherently high energy density and the other. Maclay et al. References [1] Mitlitsky F. Kumagai N.86(1–2):74–83. August 17–21 2003. In: First international energy conversion engineering conference. Chamberlin CE. Lennartz M. [2] Burke KA. Low cost. . Phoebus-Julich: an autonomous energy supply system comprising photovoltaics. [12] Lehman PA. J Power Sources 2000. 2001. Pauletto G. Regenerative fuel cell with chemical reactions.25:97–109. • There was little benefit in employing the battery/RFC hybrid system in grid-parallel. 2002. Ando Y. However. Int J Hydrogen Energ 1997. load sharing will lead to a reduced H2 storage We gratefully acknowledge the support of the US Department of Defense Fuel Cell Program of the Engineer Research and Development Center at the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory. which sponsors this research. extending energy density capacity beyond that of using batteries alone. Rocheleau MA. Yvon K. Oku T.23(4):295–301. capacity compared to our present control strategy and energy density capacity will be lost.22(5):465–70. Brocke WA. fuel cell. We especially acknowledge the support and guidance of our program manager Mr. [11] Barthels H. / International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 31 (2006) 994 – 1009 • We observed both advantages and disadvantages of operating the 5. These results reflect only a single week of summer operation. to now go to making H2 . J Power Sources 2003. 15-kilowatt electrolyzer stack for the Helios prototype flying wing. Potentially more favorable control strategies. Miyazaki Y. 8. There are many trade-offs depending on the control strategy.1008 J. Influence of cycling current and power profiles on the cycle life of lead/acid batteries. Influence of PTFE coating on gas diffusion backing for unitized regenerative polymer electrolyte fuel cells. J Power Sources 1999. Yasuda K. The role of fuel cells in energy storage.124: 385–9.12(1):56–71. Ultra-capacitors possess power densities that generally exceed that of batteries and thus may serve as better devices to couple with RFCs to meet residential load demand. Unitized regenerative fuel cell system development. In: Proceeding of the 2002 US DOE hydrogen program review. it is questionable whether a battery is needed at all in this configuration. (2) system efficiency decreases as RFC size increases relative to battery size. [5] Milliken CE. (3) the RFC produces H2 that can be stored for times of low solar irradiance.com/lightwei. Energ Convers Manag 2003. 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