Kalman Filter-Based Real-Time Implementable Optimization of the Fuel Efficiency of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Article - Mars 2021

Andreas Rauh

Andreas Rauh, « Kalman Filter-Based Real-Time Implementable Optimization of the Fuel Efficiency of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells  », Clean Technologies, mars 2021, pp. 206 - 226. ISSN 2571-8797

Abstract

The electric power characteristic of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) depends on numerous influencing factors. These are the mass flow of supplied hydrogen, the temperature distribution in the interior of the fuel cell stack, the temperatures of the supplied reaction media at the anode and cathode, and—most importantly—the electric current. Describing all of these dependencies by means of analytic system models is almost impossible. Therefore, it is reasonable to identify these dependencies by means of stochastic filter techniques. One possible option is the use of Kalman filters to find locally valid approximations of the power characteristics. These can then be employed for numerous online purposes of dynamically operated fuel cells such as maximum power point tracking or the maximization of the fuel efficiency. In the latter case, it has to be ensured that the fuel cell operation is restricted to the regime of Ohmic polarization. This aspect is crucial to avoid fuel starvation phenomena which may not only lead to an inefficient system operation but also to accelerated degradation. In this paper, a Kalman filter-based, real-time implementable optimization of the fuel efficiency is proposed for SOFCs which accounts for the aforementioned feasibility constraints. Essentially, the proposed strategy consists of two phases. First, the parameters of an approximation of the electric power characteristic are estimated. The measurable arguments of this function are the hydrogen mass flow and the electric stack current. In a second stage, these inputs are optimized so that a desired stack power is attained in an optimal way. Simulation results are presented which show the robustness of the proposed technique against inaccuracies in the a-priori knowledge about the power characteristics. For a numerical validation, three different models of the electric power characteristic are considered : (i) a static neural network input/output model, (ii) a first-order dynamic system representation and (iii) the combination of a static neural network model with a low-order fractional differential equation model representing transient phases during changes between different electric operating points.

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