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Portable Fuel Cell System Emulator as a Hardware-in-Loop Setup

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Document pages: 8 pages

Abstract: PEM (Proton exchange membrane) fuel cell is an electrochemical device that generates electricity along with heat and water as by-products. Hence, it is a clean source of energy for stationary as well as automotive applications. The fuel cell is being researched and experimented for its applications, durability, and efficiency. An experimental setup needs expensive fuel cell or stack, measuring instruments, programmable load, reactant gas cylinders, humidifier, and heater. The use of hydrogen in the laboratory needs safety compliance. Hence, it adds difficulty in making experimental setups. Moreover, conducting experiments with various membrane sizes, reactant pressure, stack sizes, power densities, fault conditions simulation is difficult with real fuel cell setup. This paper proposes a portable fuel cell system emulator for experimentation and fault testing. The emulator is designed using a Renesas microcontroller RL78. The fuel cell is emulated by a model developed using MATLAB® Simulink®. The emulator enables configuring stack size, reactant pressures, membrane sizes, gas humidification levels. It helps to conduct various experiments without having expensive fuel cell and associated system components.

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