Skip to Main Content
This paper studies the impact of fuel-cell (FC) performance and control strategies on the benefits of hybridization. One of the main weak points of the FC is slow dynamics dominated by a temperature and fuel-delivery system (pumps, valves, and, in some cases, a hydrogen reformer). As a result, fast load demand will cause a high voltage drop in a short time, which is recognized as a fuel-starvation phenomenon. Therefore, to employ an FC in vehicle applications, the electrical system must have at least an auxiliary power source to improve system performance when electrical loads demand high energy in a short time. The possibilities of using a supercapacitor or a battery bank as an auxiliary source with an FC main source are presented in detail. The studies of two hybrid power systems for vehicle applications, i.e., FC/battery and FC/supercapacitor hybrid power sources, are explained. Experimental results with small-scale devices (a polymer electrolyte membrane FC of 500 W, 40 A, and 13 V; a lead-acid battery module of 33 Ah and 48 V; and a supercapacitor module of 292 F, 500 A, and 30 V) in a laboratory authenticate that energy-storage devices can assist the FC to meet the vehicle power demand and help achieve better performance, as well as to substantiate the excellent control schemes during motor-drive cycles.