8kW PEMFC power pack


8kW system sketch

This was the first PEMFC power source buit in the continuation of the WorkingPEM project (see History for details). It was originally intended to be an integrated power source that could be installed as an APU (Auxiliar Power Unit) for an industrial vehicle in the power range of up to 8kW. In practice this meant that, in addition to the fuel cell system functional construction and its experimental validation, additional requirements imposed by rough environmental conditions had to be considered. The system was built inside a 19" rack frame with custom welded attachment structures for different system components.

Later in the project it was decided to convert an industrial forklift to run on fuel cell and use it as a demonstration platform. It became then evident that a more powerful power source would be needed. At this point, the 8kW system was converted into a laboratory test system and it's main purpose has since molded into being a research environment, where system structural ideas and control strategies can be developed under controlled conditions with nearly identical hardware and software, as what is found in the "final product".

In this page you will find information about the electronics and software of the control system. For details about the fuel cell itself (BoP, experiments and results, etc), read the article Development of integrated fuel cell hybrid power source for electric forklift, published in Journal of Power Sources

Control subsystem


Control Subsystem of the 8kW PEMFC

Hardware

The Ethernut3 was chosen as the microcontroller board, and the IB2 instrumentation board was designed an built for this project, containing all the necessary signal conditioning and electronic circuitry so that we could connect to it all the sensors and actuators.

Software

The control software was implemented as a user application layer using the NutDAC system, and was divided in two parts:

The microcontroller side, with the control loops for autonomous operation implemented as state machines (see Control Strategies for details). The source code is available as a NutDAC_Micro dependent project, codenamed pp8. You will also need the ib2tester containing the drivers of the IB2. Simply copy them to the same directory.
Note: The pp8 code compiles for the Ethernut2 platform as well, but it seems that it has not enough RAM to run it. Reducing the memory usage (by for example not using http server) makes the system to run. It has not been tested with the real fuel cell, though.

The PC side, with a GUI to start/stop the autonomous control and controls to operate the system manually, together with tools to facilitate calibration and data storage for posterior analysis. The source code is available as a NutDAC_GUI dependent project, codenamed pp8-gui. Here you can see the resulting GUI


pp8 GUI