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Fuel cells have been considered for all types of transport including automobiles, buses, submarines, motorcycles and airplanes due to their high efficiency and their environmentally friendly nature. In most transportation applications, fuel cells are used to augment the existing electrical system and not as a stand-alone power source. The addition of a fuel cell to any type of transport, however, will have an influence on the dynamic behavior of the electrical system within the transport and may even cause instability in a previously stable system. This paper analyzes the consequences of integrating a Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell to the existing electrical generation and distribution system of a Boeing 787-8 aircraft through modeling and simulation tools. Physical testing, although beneficial and critical, is expensive and time consuming. The modeling approach in the initial scoping stage provides an early indicator of the feasibility of fuel cell use on an airplane in addition to possible challenges that should be addressed with hardware testing. Simulation results are presented using MATLAB, Simulink, and SimPowerSystems environments.
Date of Conference: 18-20 June 2012