Model-Based Validation of Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle Control Systems
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Hydrogen fuel cell technology has emerged as an efficient and clean alternative to internal combustion engines for powering vehicles, and hydrogen powertrains will aid in addressing key environmental issues such as urban air quality and global warming. This work demonstrates the effectiveness of a „hardware-in-loop‟ (HIL) simulation system for validating the safety and effectiveness of control algorithms for a hydrogen fuel cell hybrid passenger vehicle. A significant amount of the work completed in conjunction with the thesis topic was the design and construction of the fuel cell vehicle for competition. Producing a „rolling test bench‟ that generates data to be used to create HIL simulation models required nearly two years of work before an acceptable level of reliability was reached to produce usable data. Some detail will be given in this thesis regarding the infrastructure modifications required to safely build a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, as well as the design challenges faced in the integration of a fuel cell power module, two electric drive motors, a nickel metal hydride battery, and required power electronics into a small sport utility vehicle originally designed for an internal combustion powertrain. The virtual control validation performed involved designing dynamic models of the systems of interest and performing real-time simulation to ensure that the appropriate controller response is observed. For this thesis, emphasis was placed on several key vehicle control topics. Communication robustness was evaluated to ensure that the complicated vehicle communication network could effectively handle traffic from the six powertrain sub-controllers. Safety algorithms were tested for appropriate response to fault conditions. Control systems were developed and tuned offline reducing the amount of time required for in-vehicle development and testing. Software-in-the-loop simulation was used to check initial code integrity and to validate the hardware-in-the-loop vehicle models. The methodology presented in this work was found to be sufficient for a thorough safety and rationality evaluation of control strategies for hybrid fuel cell vehicles.