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MICAPEM: Parameter estimation, diagnosis and control for the improvement of efficiency and durability of PEM fuel cells

Total activity: 20
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
171.820,00 €
Start date
End date
The aim of this project, which can be classified within the control area, is to improve the performance of the PEM fuel cells based systems.
The project is building upon the accumulated experience of the group in the topic and is based on the results of different previous projects of the research group. Its approach is set on the conviction that it is possible to obtain more competitive systems through better control systems. This requires to have a deep knowledge of the different phenomena that affect the efficiency and degradation of the PEM fuel cells and to have tools to know the internal state of these systems.
The main objective of the project is to develop controllers that operate the PEM fuel cell based systems with maximum efficiency and minimum degradation. Additionally, the properties of these controlled systems for stationary Combined Heat & Power (CH&P) applications will be shown. Specifically, the tasks of the project include the design, development and implementation of the control system of a CH&P high temperature PEM fuel cell based unit that will be manufactured and integrated to a prototype home by the other two partners of the coordinated project.
To achieve the control objectives, the project tasks are separated into two levels: the fuel cell level and the whole generation system, which includes the necessary elements for the energy management and use (batteries and/or supercapacitors, power converters, heat exchangers). For the improvement of the fuel cell controllers, models that take into account new mechanisms of efficiency loss and degradation, parameter estimation systems and observers will be developed. On the other hand, discretised high order EDP models will be used and therefore, model order reduction techniques will be used for their analytical treatment in the controllers design. Based on these
models, robust multivariable controllers with a unified management of reactants, heat and water will be designed, implemented and validated. These controllers will be able to ponderate the efficiency and durability objectives, which are not always compatible.
At the whole generation system level, electrical power and heat management strategies will be determined and high level controllers will be designed, implemented and validated. These controllers will rely on information from all the subsystems, including the fuel cell. Taking advantage of the computational capacities, diagnosis and parameter estimation mechanisms will be run in parallel with the control algorithm in order to adapt the control objectives to the state of the different elements. For the energy management strategies, residential and industrial stationary CH&P applications with high temperature PEM fuel cells will be considered. Start up and shut down procedures, which have an important effect on the degradation of high temperature PEM fuel cells, will be included in the controllers.
The research team is a multidisciplinary team with a large theoretical and practical experience in the control of energy systems and fuel cells. All the project activities have an experimental validation that will be done in the Fuel Cells Laboratory of the IRII.
PEM fuel cells, automatic control, cogeneración, combined heat and power, control automático, energy, energía, estimación de parámetros, parameter estimation, pilas de combustible PEM
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Resoluton year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Funding call
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Grant institution
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco


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