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PEM fuel cell fault detection and identification using differential method: simulation and experimental validation

  • E. Frappé (a1), A. De Bernardinis (a1), O. Bethoux (a2), D. Candusso (a1) (a3), F. Harel (a1) (a3), C. Marchand (a2) and G. Coquery (a1)...

Abstract

PEM fuel cell performance and lifetime strongly depend on the polymer membrane and MEA hydration. As the internal moisture is very sensitive to the operating conditions (temperature, stoichiometry, load current, water management…), keeping the optimal working point is complex and requires real-time monitoring. This article focuses on PEM fuel cell stack health diagnosis and more precisely on stack fault detection monitoring. This paper intends to define new, simple and effective methods to get relevant information on usual faults or malfunctions occurring in the fuel cell stack. For this purpose, the authors present a fault detection method using simple and non-intrusive on-line technique based on the space signature of the cell voltages. The authors have the objective to minimize the number of embedded sensors and instrumentation in order to get a precise, reliable and economic solution in a mass market application. A very low number of sensors are indeed needed for this monitoring and the associated algorithm can be implemented on-line. This technique is validated on a 20-cell PEMFC stack. It demonstrates that the developed method is particularly efficient in flooding case. As a matter of fact, it uses directly the stack as a sensor which enables to get a quick feedback on its state of health.

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