Fuel Cell Distributed Generation: Power Conditioning, Control and Energy Management
MetadataShow full item record
Distributed generation is expected to play a significant role in remedying the many shortcomings in today’s energy market. In particular, fuel cell power generation will play a big part due to several advantages. Still, it is faced with its own challenges to tap into its potential as a solution to the crisis. The responsibilities of the Power Conditioning Unit (PCU), and thus its design, are therefore complex, yet critical to the fuel cell system’s performance and ability to meet the requirements. To this end, the dc-dc converter, considered the most critical component of the PCU for optimum performance, is closely examined. The selected converter is first modeled to gain insight into its behavior for the purpose of designing suitable compensators. MATLAB is then used to study the results using the frequency domain, and it was observed that the converter offers its own unique challenges in terms of closed-loop performance and stability. These limitations must therefore be carefully accounted for and compensated against when designing the control loops to achieve the desired objectives. Negative feedback control to ensure robustness is then discussed. The insertion of a second inner loop in Current Mode Control (CMC) offers several key advantages over single-loop Voltage Mode Control (VMC). Furthermore, the insertion of a Current Error Amplifier (CEA) in Average Current Mode Control (ACMC) helps overcome many of the problems present in Peak Current Mode Control (PCMC) whilst allowing much needed design flexibility. It is therefore well suited for this application in an attempt to improve the dynamic behavior and overcoming the shortcomings inherent in the converter. The modulator and controller for ACMC are then modeled separately and combined with the converter’s model previously derived to form the complete small-signal model. A suitable compensation network is selected based on the models and corresponding Bode plots used to assess the system’s performance and stability. The resulting Bode plot for the complete system verifies that the design objectives are clearly met. The complete system was also built in MATLAB/Simulink, and subjected to external disturbances in the form of stepped load changes. The results confirm the system’s excellent behavior despite the disturbance, and the effectiveness of the control strategy in conjunction with the derived models. To meet the demand in many applications for power sources with high energy density and high power density, it is constructive to combine the fuel cell with an Energy Storage System (ESS). The hybrid system results in a synergistic system that brings about numerous potential advantages. Nevertheless, in order to reap these potential benefits and avoid detrimental effects to the components, a suitable configuration and control strategy to regulate the power flow amongst the various sources is of utmost importance. A robust and flexible control strategy that allows direct implementation of the ACMC scheme is devised. The excellent performance and versatility of the proposed system and control strategy are once again verified using simulations. Finally, experimental tests are also conducted to validate the results presented in the dissertation. A scalable and modular test station is built that allows an efficient and effective design and testing process of the research. The results show good correspondence and performance of the models and control design derived throughout the thesis.