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A Dynamic Model of a PEM Fuel Cell System

J.M. Lee, B.H. Cho*
Fuel Cell Vehicle Team, Hyundai Motor Company & Kia Motors Corp. 449-912, 104 Mabuk-Dong, Giheung-Gu, Yongin-Si, Gyunggi-Do, Korea *Department of Electrical Engineering, Seoul National University San 56-1, Silim-dong, Seoul, 151-742, Korea E-mail:
Abstract- The steady states and dynamics of a fuel cell system are influenced by both operating conditions and the frequency characteristics of electrochemical reactions in a cell. A dynamic model of a practical fuel cell system, based on an analytical theory and empirical data, is proposed. The model consists of three parts, such as an open circuit voltage model including fuel flow and reaction in channels, an equivalent circuit model caused by voltage losses of electrochemical reactions in a cell, and an air compressor model (a fuel supply model among auxiliary systems in a fuel cell system). It will be useful to design the power system and control strategy and to analyze the system dynamics in a fuel cell power system. The model is verified by experiments of 1kW PEM FC system. The dynamics of its OCV(open circuit voltage) by fuel flow effect, and the frequency characteristics of reaction dynamics in a cell are verified by experiments.



A FUEL cell system is one of the environmentally friendly alternative power systems to conventional fossil power systems. The steady states and dynamic behaviors of a fuel cell stack have been important concerns in order to use it as a power source for the power conditioning devices and other nonlinear type loads. A PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell has three dynamic characteristics. The first is an OCV(open circuit voltage) dynamics determined by the partial pressure of reactants inside a fuel cell related to the dynamics of fuel flow in channels and auxiliary devices such as an air compressor, hydrogen regulator, hydrogen recycler, and humidifier. The second is a frequency characteristics determined by electrode reaction rates, ionic transport in a membrane and GDL, and water concentration which affects an ionic conductivity. The third is thermodynamics. Electrochemical based models described in [1]~[3] include the mass flow dynamics in channels, ionic transport phenomena, water and thermal management. It is helpful to understand physical and chemical phenomena in a fuel cell, but difficult to describe the frequency characteristics because the flow rate of fuels reacted in the reaction is numerically calculated from the fuel cell current using electrochemical principles. Impedance based circuit models described in [4]~[7] are simple and well represented for a frequency response to the fuel cell current which is easily measured and identified from empirical data. However, the OCV dynamics is not included because it assumes that the partial pressure of reactants in a fuel cell is constant. The system models described in [8]~[9] describe the OCV dynamics by the effect of fuel flow because

the dynamics of auxiliary devices are included, but do not present the frequency characteristics, because they are based on electrochemical models. This paper develops a model including the first OCV dynamics by the dynamics of auxiliary devices and second frequency characteristics. The OCV dynamics is described as dependent sources by a partial pressure of reactants including fuel fluid dynamics of an air compressor and fuel flow in channels. The frequency characteristics is described as an equivalent circuit model for the effect of the series resistance, charge transfer and double layer resulting from reaction rate, ionic transport and water concentration. The configuration of a practical fuel cell system model in this paper is introduced as three parts like the air compressor model, the OCV model by fuel flow in channels, and the model of the series resistance, charge transfer and double layer. The static characteristics of a fuel cell system, the influence of the dynamics of fuel supply on the dynamics of the fuel cell system, and the frequency characteristics are shown by experiments.
VENT Humidifier


Fuel Cell PS Stack

Dust Filter




PS Purge Valve

H2 Tank


MFM : Mass Flow Meter BPR : Back pressure Regulator PS : Pressure Sensor PR : Pressure Regulator HS : Humid Sensor

H2 Recycler

Fig. 1. A practical fuel cell system configuration



A practical fuel cell system shown in Fig. 1 consists of air compressor, humidifier, hydrogen tank, valves, H2 recycler, and the stack. In this paper, it is assumed that the temperature in a stack is constant, because the time constant of thermal

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and the input pressure of H2 in an anode are constant.[10][11].O2 - Σ Aca. re { } (6) ( s + Ach . H 2 = log ( pan . However. The system transfer function model of the output flow rate and pressure versus the command signal is shown in Fig. The equations are described as follow: dpch. H 2 ⋅ k an ) reacted pan. n G1 ( s ) = 2 2 s + 2 ⋅ ξ w ⋅ ω w.O2 ) ⋅ kca ⋅ (TFC − 298.O2 = log ( pca . and concentration overpotential.O2 ) ⋅ k ca ⋅ (TFC − 298. re ) + Ach .O2 B. H 2 = lo g ( pan. x Wch .re ) pch . The air compressor model has been modeled in [8]. H 2 + Vca .n pcp = p in ca 2 s 2 + 2 ⋅ ξ p ⋅ ω p .O2 = lo g ( pca . In this is the OCV of reactant kch is the OCV constant of channel TFC is the temperature of fuel cell The reactant redistribution and proton transport in a cell are described by complex partial differential equations or lumped model having many parameters [1~3]. [11].O2 OCV Van. H 2 ξ and ωn is the damping ratio and the natural frequency K i is the integral gain vcm is the command signal react Wan. 2. n Rre ⋅ TFC Vch Rre is the gas constant of reactant Vch is the volume of channel Ach. in is the pressure of reactant in channel .re is the flow contant in Wcp = Wca vcm Wair _ ref + Σ - K C(s) = i s 2 ω w.00 ©2009 IEEE 721 .re ⋅ kch . H 2 ( s + Aan. ω 2 p . H 2 ) ⋅ kan ⋅ (TFC − 298. the OCV by the partial pressure of H2 and O2 is described as follows: OCV = Van . The consumed power of the compressor can be calculated by the output pressure and air flow rate in the compressor = kch . G2 ( s ) = Van . its parameters are easily obtained. reactant flow dynamics are linearized. The Nernst equation and activation overpotential are affected by the partial pressure of the reactants and water saturation pressure [8]. In this paper.n ⋅ s + ω p . and H2 recycler plays the role of making the dynamics of H2 flow and reaction better.O2 ( s + Aca. In this ⋅ ( pch .H 2 + n ⋅ M O2 4F react Wca .re − pch . ch is ca or an (cathode or anode) The OCV model by fuel flow in channels are shown in Fig. H 2 + Σ in react ⋅ Wch .O2 pca . The OCV model by fuel flow and reaction in channels where M x is the gas molar mass F is the Faraday nummber n is the nummber of fuel cell stack (1) 978-1-422-2812-0/09/$25. OCV Model by Fuel Flow in Channels The voltage model of a fuel cell has been presented by Nernst equation and voltage drops which are activation overpotential. dynamic equations are nonlinear and its parameters are difficult to identify in [8].15) Vca . ( s + Ach .15) + - VOC — Fig. By method of identification through a step response test. Air Compressor Model The dynamics of an air compressor consists of the compressor air flow and the electromechanical behavior of the motor. ohmic overpotential. It is assumed that the H2 pressure regulator and recycler are ideal because the method of supplying H2 is to keep an input pressure of anode channel constant by a pressure ) out ⋅ pch .re ⋅ kch .H 2 The control of the compressor is implemented by the feed forward controller of the fuel cell current and feedback with an integral controller. Air compressor model in where Wcp = Wca is the air flow rate of the compressor in pcp = pca is the output pressure of the compressor re is O2 or H2.15) Vca .re ⋅ ( in react out (4) = Ach. H 2 - + - Van .re is the air flow rate. H 2 ) ⋅ k an ⋅ (TFC − 298. the model linearization and the systems order are determined by the DC motor model and static compressor model [10].15) (2) (3) where Vch . 3. assumed that the output pressure in a cathode is constant and the pressure change is ) dt out out (5) Wch .dynamics is very slow and the temperature can be well controlled by its cooling system. The reaction rate of = Fig. and O2 is determined by the fuel cell current. re ⋅ kch .re − Wch .re − Wch .O2 + Voc iFC n ⋅ M H2 2F − where pch.n kch .O2 ⋅ kca ) in Wca. It is assumed that the input humidity in cathode channel is constant because the change in the air humidity of the humidifier is slow. + + - Vca .re = Ach . n ⋅ s + ω w. 3.

Frequency response Test A fuel cell system is connected to the power electronics circuits or electric loads which contain the ripple current with various frequencies. H 2 - + - Van . It presents the OCV from fuel flow dynamic effect and the frequency characteristics. 978-1-422-2812-0/09/$25. Fig. Fig. Conditions of supplying the air flow and H2 are such that the air compressor is controlled as the stoichiometry 2 of the reactant air flow required by the average current of a fuel cell and the input pressure of the H2 remains 1. 5. 6.O2 OCV + - Rct + Σ C (s) = - Ki s vcm 2 s 2 + 2 ⋅ ξ ⋅ ω n ⋅ s + ωn ω n2 + - Compressor model Fig. Step current test when Wair = const.1 0. where Rs is the series resistance Cdl is the double layer capacitance Rct is the charge transfer resistance Its parameters are obtained from the step current test shown in Fig.5 Fig. Charge Transfer and Double Layer A fuel cell has the similar electrochemical impedance characteristics as a battery. charge transfer and double layer Step Current Test when Wair = constant 50 Voltage Current Voltage (V) and Current (A) 40 III. The ripple current tolerable to a fuel cell 10 0 0 0.H 2 Rs 3. H 2 + Σ pan . H 2 (s + Aan. and (b) show the influence of the response time of the air compressor on the change in the fuel cell voltage.H 2 Cdl Rs in pan. The proposed model describes the static behavior of the fuel cell system well. three experiments such as the static V-I characteristic curve test. Step Current Test The dynamic response of the air compressor is slower than the change of electric loads (current). H 2 Aan.O2 (s + Aca . 4.57 × 10 −8 × nFC ⋅ I FC n ⋅ M O2 4F react Wca . B. A. 4.O2 ⋅ kca ) in Wca. but their identification should be compensated by subtracting the OCV dynamics from the results including the OCV dynamics caused by fuel flow in channels. and frequency response tests are conducted. The complete model of a practical fuel cell system proposed in this paper is shown in Fig. Slow flow means that the compressor control speed is slower than that in normal state. 8 (c) shows that the experimental results are almost equal to those of the proposed model. Proposed fuel cell dynamic model Fig. Static V-I Characteristics Curve Test The V-I characteristic curve experiment is conducted and the proposed model is simulated for comparison as shown in Fig. H 2 ⋅ k an ) reacted pan. C. step current tests. because of the nonlinear behaviors of a fuel cell. 7. 1kW PEM fuel cell stack is used for experiments.3 time (sec) 0.2 0. 5. charge transfer and double layer from reaction rate. There is a small difference between the experiment data and the simulated data at a low current. and will determine its capacity.O2 - Σ Aca. ionic transport and water concentration is described as the equivalent circuit model shown in Fig.4 0. The slow dynamics of the air compressor and fuel flow causes the voltage drops. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS AND MODEL VALIDATION 30 20 In order to understand the static and dynamic behavior of a fuel cell system and to validate the proposed model.O2 Wcp .00 ©2009 IEEE 722 Rct VOC .C. The model of series resistance. 8 (a). on condition that the fuel supply flow rate is constant and the step current changes from 0A to 20A at 0 second.ref + + - Vca . Model of series resistance.3 bar.O2 pca. This voltage drops must be compensated by a secondary energy source such as battery or supercapacitor. Cdl iFC n ⋅ M H2 2F react Wan . 6. Model of Series Resistance.

the same ripple currents with different frequencies cause the different ripple voltages of the fuel cell. and 100 Hz is loaded into a fuel cell system. the triangle current with 1.00 ©2009 IEEE 723 .5 14 (a) voltage and current of the fuel cell 70 60 Air flow rate (LPM) 50 40 30 20 10 Slow flow Normal flow Step Currnet Test Fuel cell voltage(V) and current(A) 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 10 (a) 1Hz ripple current Frequency response test . 10. 8.1 10.2 10. In the frequency response test. V-I characteristics curve of the fuel cell (c) the experiment and simulation result Fig. 7. 40 38 36 34 32 30 28 26 Fuel Cell V-I curve. In order to understand the frequency characteristics of its output current.5 time (sec) 13 13. and (c). 45 40 Current (A) and Volt (V) 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 0 1 Step Current Test . 9 (a).1Hz 40 Fuel Cell Voltage (V) and Current (A) 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 0 1 Step Currnet Test Experimental Voltage Model Voltage Current 2 time (sec) 3 4 5 10.5 11 11. In Fig.normal flow Model Voltage Fuel cell voltage(V) Experimental Voltage Current 0 5 10 15 20 25 Current (A) 30 35 40 2 time (sec) 3 4 5 Fig.3 time (sec) 10. Step current Test 40 Fuel cell voltage(V) and current(A) 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 10 Frequency response test .4 10. (b).is important to design the power system and control strategy. the experiments are conducted.5 12 12.5 (b) Air flow rate (b) 10Hz ripple current 978-1-422-2812-0/09/$25.10Hz 0 1 2 time (sec) 3 4 5 10.

Glandut.62 10. R. “A model predicting transient responses of proton exchange membrane fuel cells”. J. 5 pp 3284-3288. [10] John P. [7] X. M. N.C. Experiments show that the OCV dynamics by the effect of fuel dynamics and the frequency characteristics influence the dynamics of the fuel cell. J. Hissel. P. Model of the Air System Transients in a Fuel Cell Vehicle.68 10. 10-12 Dec. Stefanopoulou. Sharkh. R11-2002-102-00000-0) and by New & Renewable Energy R&D program (2005-N-FC12-P01) under the Korea Ministry of Commerce. Oct. Wingelaar. [8] J.4. “ Dynamic PEM fuel cell modeling for automotive applications”. Farret. A. Bird. D. J. [11] Gravdahl. O “A Moore-Greitzer axial compressor model with spool dynamics” Decision and Control. Choe. 978-1-422-2812-0/09/$25. [9] M. and S. and S. Sakla. [4] P. Journal of power sources 145 pp-30-39. D.Y. 2004.M. Industry and Energy (MOCIE). Journal of Power Sources 133 pp. Byrne. J. Kong. A.66 time (sec) 10. Xue. [6] M. Khambadkone.211-218. “Sensitivity Analysis of the Modeling Parameters Used in Simulation of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells”. Amphlett. A. This model will be useful to design the power system and control strategy in a fuel cell power system.A. Alam.G. A practical 1kW PEM FC stack is implemented and used for experiments.K. “Dynamic Characteristic of PEM Fuel Cells”. and M.L.A. Experimental Voltage Model Voltage Current (c) 100Hz ripple current Fig.Y. Garnier.T and Egeland. March 2005. Rahman. Peng. and M. on Energy Conversion.S. Popov. Proceedings of ASME IMECE.A. Proceedings of the 36th IEEE Conference on vol 5.F. [2] Y. Vol. and T. [3] X. A. Vol.19 No.3. M. IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference.64 10. IEEE trans.R. pp 4714-4719. B. IEEE trans. Reppley. pp.A.188-204.S Thesis.100Hz 40 Fuel cell voltage(V) and current(A) 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 10. Shan. “Simulation and analysis of transient fuel cell system performance based on a dynamic reactant flow model”. 1997. 183-188. R.T. 1996. Vol.Frequency response test . “A Hybrid Model with Combined Steady-state and Dynamic Characteristics of PEMFC Fuel Cell Stack”. “Analysis of Active and Reactive Power Control of a StandAlone PEM Fuel Cell Power Plant”. Tang. Correa. Mann. Roberge. P. Vol. Sammes. “A high dynamic PEM fuel cell model with temperature effects”. Pukrushpan. 1997. B. No.H.C. IEEE PESC. N. 2002. 2005.. 9. F. REFERENCES [1] J. V. Oct.1. Duarte. Smirnova. Simoes. 2005. 2003. CONCLUSION This paper proposes the model of a practical fuel cell system including the air compressor model.M Hedrix. Pera. England.C.20. Candusso. A. 2005. Frequency response characteristics test IV. [5] J.6 10. and the equivalent circuit model.J. the OCV model including fuel flow in channels.A. Journal of Power Sources 61 pp.on Power System.2022-2028. Thomas. IAS Annual Meeting.00 ©2009 IEEE 724 .7 ACKNOWLEDGMENT This work was supported by the ERC program of MOST/KOSEF (Grant NO. pp. Thum. H. “System level lumped-parameter dynamic modeling of PEM fuel cell”. Mechanical Engineering. pp1635-1641.1618-1625. and A. Rodrigues. 2004.G. pp. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 2002.