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Model based automotive system integration: fuel cell vehicle hardware-in-the-loop

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Over the past decade, proton exchange membrane fuel cells have gained much momentum due to their environmental advantages and commutability over internal combustion engines. To carefully study the dynamic behavior

Over the past decade, proton exchange membrane fuel cells have gained much momentum due to their environmental advantages and commutability over internal combustion engines. To carefully study the dynamic behavior of the fuel cells, a dynamic test stand to validate their performance is necessary. Much attention has been given to HiL (Hardware-in-loop) testing of the fuel cells, where the simulated FC model is replaced by a real hardware. This thesis presents an economical approach for closed loop HiL testing of PEM fuel cell. After evaluating the performance of the standalone fuel cell system, a fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle model was developed by incorporating a battery system. The FCHEV was tested with two different control strategies, viz. load following and thermostatic.

The study was done to determine the dynamic behavior of the FC when exposed to real-world drive cycles. Different parameters associated with the efficiency of the fuel cell were monitored. An electronic DC load was used to draw current from the FC. The DC load was controlled in real time with a NI PXIe-1071 controller chassis incorporated with NI PXI-6722 and NI PXIe-6341 controllers. The closed loop feedback was obtained with the temperatures from two surface mount thermocouples on the FC. The temperature of these thermocouples follows the curve of the FC core temperature, which is measured with a thermocouple located inside the fuel cell system. This indicates successful implementation of the closed loop feedback. The results show that the FC was able to satisfy the required power when continuous shifting load was present, but there was a discrepancy between the power requirements at times of peak acceleration and also at constant loads when ran for a longer time. It has also been found that further research is required to fully understand the transient behavior of the fuel cell temperature distribution in relation to their use in automotive industry. In the experimental runs involving the FCHEV model with different control strategies, it was noticed that the fuel cell response to transient loads improved and the hydrogen consumption of the fuel cell drastically decreased.

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  • 2014

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Potential materials for fuel cells

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Proton exchange membrane fuel cells have attracted immense research activities from the inception of the technology due to its high stability and performance capabilities. The major obstacle from commercialization is

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells have attracted immense research activities from the inception of the technology due to its high stability and performance capabilities. The major obstacle from commercialization is the cost of the catalyst material in manufacturing the fuel cell. In the present study, the major focus in PEMFCs has been in reduction of the cost of the catalyst material using graphene, thin film coated and Organometallic Molecular catalysts. The present research is focused on improving the durability and active surface area of the catalyst materials with low platinum loading using nanomaterials to reduce the effective cost of the fuel cells. Performance, Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, oxygen reduction and surface morphology studies were performed on each manufactured material.

Alkaline fuel cells with anion exchange membrane get immense attention due to very attractive opportunity of using non-noble metal catalyst materials. In the present study, cathodes with various organometallic cathode materials were prepared and investigated for alkaline membrane fuel cells for oxygen reduction and performance studies. Co and Fe Phthalocyanine catalyst materials were deposited on multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) support materials. Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) were fabricated using Tokuyama Membrane (#A901) with cathodes containing Co and Fe Phthalocyanine/MWCNTs and Pt/C anodes. Fuel cell performance of the MEAs was examined.

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  • 2014

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Design and development of membrane electrode assembly for proton exchange membrane fuel cell

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This work aimed to characterize and optimize the variables that influence the Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL) preparation using design of experiment (DOE) approach. In the process of GDL preparation, the

This work aimed to characterize and optimize the variables that influence the Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL) preparation using design of experiment (DOE) approach. In the process of GDL preparation, the quantity of carbon support and Teflon were found to have significant influence on the Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC). Characterization methods like surface roughness, wetting characteristics, microstructure surface morphology, pore size distribution, thermal conductivity of GDLs were examined using laser interferometer, Goniometer, SEM, porosimetry and thermal conductivity analyzer respectively. The GDLs were evaluated in single cell PEMFC under various operating conditions of temperature and relative humidity (RH) using air as oxidant. Electrodes were prepared with different PUREBLACK® and poly-tetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) content in the diffusion layer and maintaining catalytic layer with a Pt-loading (0.4 mg cm-2). In the study, a 73.16 wt.% level of PB and 34 wt.% level of PTFE was the optimal compositions for GDL at 70 °C for 70% RH under air atmosphere.

For most electrochemical processes the oxygen reduction is very vita reaction. Pt loading in the electrocatalyst contributes towards the total cost of electrochemical devices. Reducing the Pt loading in electrocatalysts with high efficiency is important for the development of fuel cell technologies. To this end, this thesis work reports the approach to lower down the Pt loading in electrocatalyst based on N-doped carbon nanotubes derived from Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks (ZIF-67) for oxygen reduction. This electrocatalyst perform with higher electrocatalytic activity and stability for oxygen reduction in fuel cell testing. The electrochemical properties are mainly due to the synergistic effect from N-doped carbon nanotubes derived from ZIF and Pt loading. The strategy with low Pt loading forecasts in emerging highly active and less expensive electrocatalysts in electrochemical energy devices.

This thesis focuses on: (i) methods to obtain greater power density by optimizing content of wet-proofing agent (PTFE) and fine-grained, hydrophobic, microporous layer (MPL); (ii) modeling full factorial analysis of PEMFC for evaluation with experimental results and predicting further improvements in performance; (iii) methods to obtain high levels of performance with low Pt loading electrodes based on N-doped carbon nanotubes derived from ZIF-67 and Pt.

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  • 2016

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Low cost system for test of thru-plane thermal transfer coefficient

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Determining the thermal conductivity of carbon gas diffusion layers used in hydrogen fuel cells is a very active topic of research. The primary driver behind this research is due to

Determining the thermal conductivity of carbon gas diffusion layers used in hydrogen fuel cells is a very active topic of research. The primary driver behind this research is due to the need for development of proton exchange membrane fuels with longer usable life cycles before failure. As heat is a byproduct of the oxygen-hydrogen reaction an optimized pathway to remove the excess heat is needed to prevent thermal damage to the fuel cell as both mechanical and chemical degradation is accelerated under elevated temperatures. Commercial systems used for testing thermal conductivity are readily available, but are prohibitively expensive, ranging from just over $10,000 to $80,000 for high-end systems. As this cost can exclude some research labs from experimenting with thermal conductivity, a low cost alternative system is a desirable product. The development of a low cost system that maintained typical accuracy levels of commercials systems was carried out successfully at a significant cost reduction. The end product was capable of obtaining comparable accuracy to commercial systems at a cost reduction of more than 600% when compared to entry level commercial models. Combined with a system design that only required some basic fabrication equipment, this design will allow many research labs to expand their testing capabilities without straining departmental budgets. As expected with the development of low cost solutions, the reduction in cost came at the loss in other aspects of system performance, mainly run time. While the developed system requires a significate time investment to obtain useable results, the system can be improved by the used of RTDs in place of thermocouples or incorporation of an isothermal cold plate. These improvements would reduce the runtime to less than that of a standard work day while maintaining an approximate reduction in cost of 350%.

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  • 2016

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Pt/Pt alloy and manganese dioxides based oxygen reduction reaction catalysts for low-temperature fuel cells

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The fuel cell is a promising device that converts the chemical energy directly into the electrical energy without combustion process. However, the slow reaction rate of the oxygen reduction reaction

The fuel cell is a promising device that converts the chemical energy directly into the electrical energy without combustion process. However, the slow reaction rate of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) necessitates the development of cathode catalysts for low-temperature fuel cells. After a thorough literature review in Chapter 1, the thesis is divided into three parts as given below in Chapters 2-4.

Chapter 2 describes the study on the Pt and Pt-Me (Me: Co, Ni) alloy nanoparticles supported on the pyrolyzed zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF) towards ORR. The Co-ZIF and NiCo-ZIF were synthesized by the solvothermal method and then mixed with Pt precursor. After pyrolysis and acid leaching, the PtCo/NC and PtNiCo/NC were evaluated in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC). The peak power density exhibited > 10% and 15% for PtCo/NC and PtNiCo/NC, respectively, compared to that with commercial Pt/C catalyst under identical test conditions.

Chapter 3 is the investigation of the oxygen vacancy (OV) effect in a-MnO2 as a cathode catalyst for alkaline membrane fuel cells (AMFC). The a-MnO2 nanorods were synthesized by hydrothermal method and heated at 300, 400 and 500 ℃ in the air to introduce the OV. The 400 ℃ treated material showed the best ORR performance among all other samples due to more OV in pure a-MnO2 phase. The optimized AMFC electrode showed ~ 45 mW.cm-2, which was slightly lower than that with commercial Pt/C (~60 mW.cm-2).

Chapter 4 is the density functional theory (DFT) study of the protonation effect and active sites towards ORR on a-MnO2 (211) plane. The theoretically optimized oxygen adsorption and hydroxyl ion desorption energies were ~ 1.55-1.95 eV and ~ 0.98-1.45 eV, respectively, by Nørskov et al.’s calculations. All the configurations showed oxygen adsorption and hydroxyl ion desorption energies were ranging from 0.27 to 1.76 eV and 1.59 to 15.0 eV, respectively. The site which was close to two Mn ions showed the best oxygen adsorption and hydroxyl ion desorption energies improvement with the surface protonation.

Based on the results given in Chapters 1-4, the major findings are summarized in Chapter 5.

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  • 2019

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Cooling strategy for effective automotive power trains: 3D thermal modeling and multi-faceted approach for integrating thermoelectric modules into proton exchange membrane fuel cell stack

Description

Current hybrid vehicle and/or Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) use both FC and an electric system. The sequence of the electric power train with the FC system is intended to achieve

Current hybrid vehicle and/or Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) use both FC and an electric system. The sequence of the electric power train with the FC system is intended to achieve both better fuel economies than the conventional vehicles and higher performance. Current hybrids use regenerative braking technology, which converts the vehicles kinetic energy into electric energy instead of wasting it. A hybrid vehicle is much more fuel efficient than conventional Internal Combustion (IC) engine and has less environmental impact The new hybrid vehicle technology with it's advanced with configurations (i.e. Mechanical intricacy, advanced driving modes etc) inflict an intrusion with the existing Thermal Management System (TMS) of the conventional vehicles. This leaves for the opportunity for now thermal management issues which needed to be addressed. Till date, there has not been complete literature on thermal management issued of FC vehicles. The primary focus of this dissertation is on providing better cooling strategy for the advanced power trains. One of the cooling strategies discussed here is the thermo-electric modules.

The 3D Thermal modeling of the FC stack utilizes a Finite Differencing heat approach method augmented with empirical boundary conditions is employed to develop 3D thermal model for the integration of thermoelectric modules with Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell stack. Hardware-in-Loop was designed under pre-defined drive cycle to obtain fuel cell performance parameters along with anode and cathode gas flow-rates and surface temperatures. The FC model, combined experimental and finite differencing nodal net work simulation modeling approach which implemented heat generation across the stack to depict the chemical composition process. The structural and temporal temperature contours obtained from this model are in compliance with the actual recordings obtained from the infrared detector and thermocouples. The Thermography detectors were set-up through dual band thermography to neutralize the emissivity and to give several dynamic ranges to achieve accurate temperature measurements. The thermocouples network was installed to provide a reference signal.

The model is harmonized with thermo-electric modules with a modeling strategy, which enables optimize better temporal profile across the stack. This study presents the improvement of a 3D thermal model for proton exchange membrane fuel cell stack along with the interfaced thermo-electric module. The model provided a virtual environment using a model-based design approach to assist the design engineers to manipulate the design correction earlier in the process and eliminate the need for costly and time consuming prototypes.

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  • 2014

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Development of platinum-copper core-shell nanocatalyst on multi-walled carbon nanotubes for proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Description

With a recent shift to a more environmentally conscious society, low-carbon and non-carbon producing energy production methods are being investigated and applied all over the world. Of these methods, fuel

With a recent shift to a more environmentally conscious society, low-carbon and non-carbon producing energy production methods are being investigated and applied all over the world. Of these methods, fuel cells show great potential for clean energy production. A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device which directly converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are a highly researched energy source for automotive and stationary power applications. In order to produce the power required to meet Department of Energy requirements, platinum (Pt) must be used as a catalyst material in PEMFCs. Platinum, however, is very expensive and extensive research is being conducted to develop ways to reduce the amount of platinum used in PEMFCs. In the current study, three catalyst synthesis techniques were investigated and evaluated on their effectiveness to produce platinum-on copper (Pt@Cu) core-shell nanocatalyst on multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) support material. These three methods were direct deposition method, two-phase surfactant method, and single-phase surfactant method, in which direct deposition did not use a surfactant for particle size control and the surfactant methods did. The catalyst materials synthesized were evaluated by visual inspection and fuel cell performance. Samples which produced high fuel cell power output were evaluated using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging. After evaluation, it was concluded that the direct deposition technique was effective in synthesizing Pt@Cu core-shell nanocatalyst on MWCNTs support when a rinsing process was used before adding platinum. The peak power density achieved by the rinsed core-shell catalyst was 618 mW.cm-2 , 13 percent greater than that of commercial platinum-carbon (Pt/C) catalyst. Transmission electron microscopy imaging revealed the core-shell catalyst contained Pt shells and platinum-copper alloy cores. Rinsing with deionized (DI) water was shown to be a crucial step in core-shell catalyst deposition as it reduced the number of platinum colloids on the carbon nanotube surface. After evaluation, it was concluded that the two-phase surfactant and single-phase surfactant synthesis methods were not effective at producing core-shell nanocatalyst with the parameters investigated.

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  • 2012

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Development and characterization of gas diffusion layer using carbon slurry dispersed by ammonium lauryl sulfate for proton exchange member fuel cells

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Gas diffusion layers (GDLs) are a critical and essential part of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). They carry out various important functions such as transportation of reactants to and

Gas diffusion layers (GDLs) are a critical and essential part of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). They carry out various important functions such as transportation of reactants to and from the reaction sites. The material properties and structural characteristics of the substrate and the microporous layer strongly influence fuel cell performance. The microporous layer of the GDLs was fabricated with the carbon slurry dispersed in water containing ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) using the wire rod coating method. GDLs were fabricated with different materials to compose the microporous layer and evaluated the effects on PEMFC power output performance. The consistency of the carbon slurry was achieved by adding 25 wt. % of PTFE, a binding agent with a 75:25 ratio of carbon (Pureblack and vapor grown carbon fiber). The GDLs were investigated in PEMFC under various relative humidity (RH) conditions using H2/O2 and H2/Air. GDLs were also fabricated with the carbon slurry dispersed in water containing sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) based for fuel cell performance comparison. MWCNTs and SDS exhibits the highest performance at 60% and 70% RH with a peak power density of 1100 mW.cm-2 and 850 mW.cm-2 using air and oxygen as an oxidant. This means that the gas diffusion characteristics of these two samples were optimum at 60 and 70 % RH with high limiting current density range. It was also found that the composition of the carbon slurry, specifically ALS concentration has the highest peak power density of 1300 and 500mW.cm-2 for both H2/O2 and H2/Air at 100% RH. However, SDS and MWCNTs demonstrates the lowest power density using air and oxygen as an oxidants at 100% RH.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Comparison of Pt/MWCNTs nanocatalysts synthesis processes for proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Description

Due to the growing concerns on the depletion of petroleum based energy resources and climate change; fuel cell technologies have received much attention in recent years. Proton exchange membrane fuel

Due to the growing concerns on the depletion of petroleum based energy resources and climate change; fuel cell technologies have received much attention in recent years. Proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFCs) features high energy conversion efficiency and nearly zero greenhouse gas emissions, because of its combination of the hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) at anode side and oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at cathode side. Synthesis of Pt nanoparticles supported on multi walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) possess a highly durable electrochemical surface area (ESA) and show good power output on proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell performance. Platinum on multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) support were synthesized by two different processes to transfer PtCl62- from aqueous to organic phase. While the first method of Pt/MWCNTs synthesis involved dodecane thiol (DDT) and octadecane thiol (ODT) as anchoring agent, the second method used ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) as the dispersion/anchoring agent. The particle size and distribution of platinum were examined by high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM). The TEM images showed homogenous distribution and uniform particle size of platinum deposited on the surface of MWCNTs. The single cell fuel cell performance of the Pt/MWCNTs synthesized thiols and ALS based electrode containing 0.2 (anode) and 0.4 mg (cathode) Pt.cm-2 were evaluated using Nafion-212 electrolyte with H2 and O2 gases at 80 oC and ambient pressure. The catalyst synthesis with ALS is relatively simple compared to that with thiols and also showed higher performance (power density reaches about 1070 mW.cm-2). The Electrodes with Pt/MWCNTs nanocatalysts synthesized using ALS were characterized by cyclic voltammetry (CV) for durability evaluation using humidified H2 and N2 gases at room temperature (21 oC) along with commercial Pt/C for comparison. The ESA measured by cyclic voltammetry between 0.15 and 1.2 V showed significant less degradation after 1000 cycles for ALS based Pt/MWCNTs.

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Date Created
  • 2011