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Technical Paper

Cooling Parasitic Considerations for Optimal Sizing and Power Split Strategy for Military Robot Powered by Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Military vehicles are typically armored, hence the open surface area for heat rejection is limited. Hence, the cooling parasitic load for a given heat rejection can be considerably higher and important to consider upfront in the system design. Since PEMFCs operate at low temp, the required cooling flow is larger to account for the smaller delta temperature to the air. This research aims to address the combined problem of optimal sizing of the lithium ion battery and PEM Fuel Cell stack along with development of the scalable power split strategy for small a PackBot robot. We will apply scalable physics-based models of the fuel cell stack and balance of plant that includes a realistic and scalable parasitic load from cooling integrated with existing scalable models of the lithium ion battery. This model allows the combined optimization that captures the dominant trends relevant to component sizing and system performance.
Journal Article

Control Strategies for Power Quantized Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Hybrid Powertrains: In Mobile Robot Applications

This paper addresses scheduling of quantized power levels (including part load operation and startup/shutdown periods) for a propane powered solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) hybridized with a lithium-ion battery for a tracked mobile robot. The military requires silent operation and long duration missions, which cannot be met by batteries alone due to low energy density or with combustion engines due to noise. To meet this need we consider an SOFC operated at a few discrete power levels where maximum system efficiency can be achieved. The fuel efficiency decreases during transients and resulting thermal gradients lead to stress and degradation of the stack; therefore switching power levels should be minimized. Excess generated energy is used to charge the battery, but when it’s fully charged the SOFC should be turned off to conserve fuel.