Skip to Main Content
A new, hybrid integrated topology, fed by photovoltaic (PV) and fuel cell (FC) sources and suitable for distributed generation applications, is proposed. It works as an uninterruptible power source that is able to feed a certain minimum amount of power into the grid under all conditions. PV is used as the primary source of power operating near maximum power point (MPP), with the FC section (block), acting as a current source, feeding only the deficit power. The unique "integrated" approach obviates the need for dedicated communication between the two sources for coordination and eliminates the use of a separate, conventional dc/dc boost converter stage required for PV power processing, resulting in a reduction of the number of devices, components, and sensors. Presence of the FC source in parallel (with the PV source) improves the quality of power fed into the grid by minimizing the voltage dips in the PV output. Another desirable feature is that even a small amount of PV power (e.g., during low insolation), can be fed into the grid. On the other hand, excess power is diverted for auxiliary functions like electrolysis, resulting in an optimal use of the energy sources. The other advantages of the proposed system include low cost, compact structure, and high reliability, which render the system suitable for modular assemblies and "plug-n-play" type applications. All the analytical, simulation, and experimental results of this research are presented.
Date of Publication: June 2008