Design considerations for DC-DC converters in fuel cell systems
Palma Fanjul, Leonardo Manuel
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Rapidly rising fossil fuel costs along with increased environmental awareness has encouraged the development of alternative energy sources. Such sources include fuel cells, wind, solar and ocean tide power. Among them, fuel cells have received increased interest in the recent years. This is mainly due to their high efficiency, modularity, and simple construction. However, due to their low output voltage and wide variation from no load to full load, a power electronics converter is required to interface the fuel cell with its loads. This dissertation focuses on developing a set of considerations that will assist designers of the power electronics converter in the design and optimization of the system. These design considerations are obtained analytically and verified experimentally and allow obtaining an efficient and stable fuel cell ? power converter system. In addition to the design guidelines this dissertation presents new power converter topologies that do not require the use of transformers to achieve a large voltage gain. Further a new modular fuel cell power converter system that divides the fuel cell stack to optimize power generation is proposed. It is shown by means of mathematical analysis and experimental prototypes that the proposed solutions contribute to the reduction of size and cost of the power converter as well to increase the efficiency of the system.