Renewable energy sources are fluctuating depending on the availability of the energy source. For this reason, energy storage is becoming more important and bidirectional fuel cells represent an attractive technology. Fuel cells require high-current low-voltage dc-dc or dc-ac converters as power interface to the grid. In power electronics, the converter efficiency is characterized at fixed operating voltage for various output power. This type of characterization is not suitable for fuel cells, since as the power from the fuel cell increases, the cell voltage decreases. This paper analyses how the fuel cell I–V characteristics influences the power electronics converter efficiency and their consequence on the overall system. A load-dependent efficiency curve is presented based on experimental results from a 6 kW dc-dc converter prototype including the most suitable control strategy which maximizes the dc-dc conversion efficiency.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.