Dynamics of Water Crossover in Fuel Cell and Application to Freeze Driveaway Reliability 2020-01-0853
Reliable driveaway from frozen condition is one of the challenging design and control problem for fuel cell applications. Different approaches for warmup from frozen conditions have been developed by OEMs, e.g. low voltage inefficient operation, or use of coolant heaters. However, most methods result in water generation which risk icing and blocking the valves and rendering them nonfunctional till they thaw. One such valve is the anode drain valve which is needed to remove water that crosses over across the membrane to anode side. This work discusses characterization of dynamics of water crossover to anode balance of plant via step response experiments on full scale systems, and development of an online estimator to detect onset of anode water crossover via this online observer. In addition, detection via voltage dip-based feedback is also presented. Building on this understanding, an operational approach is developed for warmup and driveaway with a frozen valve and demonstrated via freeze cold start tests.