Modeling and Control of Fuel Cell Systems


Professor Anna Stefanopoulou


Department of Mechanical  Engineering

University of Michigan



Recent improvements in membrane material, fuel processing, and hydrogen storage enabled fuel cell (FC) power to move from the laboratory to experimental vehicles and commercial power

units. Although steady-state FC behavior is considered the normal operating mode; start-up, shut-down, and sudden load changes are characteristic and ubiquitous to all power producing devices. During these critical periods, the viability, efficiency, and robustness of the FC systems depend on monitoring and controlling their unique transient behavior.


In this talk we introduce the critical control problems in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) FC operation and present a nonlinear dynamic model that was developed for control, estimation, and diagnostics. We then present a few results on the air flow control design of a high pressure direct hydrogen FC for an automotive application. A highlight of this work is the delineation of the tradeoff between fast oxygen  (air) reactant supply that ensures long FC life and transient fuel cell net power response during rapid current (load) demands. We conclude the talk with an overview of the equipment and testing facility of the recently developed Fuel Cell Control Laboratory in North Campus.

-- Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) undercontracts CMS-0201332 and CMS-0219623 and the U.S. Army Center of Excellence for Automotive Research under contract DAAE07-98-3-0022.


Friday, September 20, 2002

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

1500 EECS