Training equipment for the study of the operation and characteristics of fuel cells. The proposal is based on a small panel on which a real proton exchange membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cell system is being implemented, together with a catchment system and monitoring of variables controlled from the PC.
The system makes it possible to:
- Discover the technology of hydrogen fuel cells, their advantages and disadvantages, and their energetic possibilities.
- Become familiar with the elements which make up a fuel cell system and the role played by each one.
- Execute the necessary operations in order to start up a hydrogen fuel cell, following the relevant security measures and instructions at all times when handling the hydrogen required for its operation.
- Assess, in a practical and simple manner, the technical characteristics and provisions of a fuel cell system via data acquisition and the subsequent analysis of the performed tests and measurements.
PAC-900 training panel
Elements included in the panel:
- Representative serigraph of the circuit.
- Open-cathode PEMFC system. Includes the fuel cell stack and its corresponding management circuit.
- Hydrogen intake and shut-off valve.
- Drain valve outlet with an indicator LED of the valve activation.
- ON/OFF switch for turning the fuel cell on and off and indicator LEDs indicating the status of the system.
- Two 12V/5W LED lights with control switches.
- Cigarette lighter-type outlet for connecting other kinds of charges.
- Room temperature and relative humidity collectors for monitoring the values form the PC.
- Integrated data acquisition system.
- Eye screws and bridges for connecting-disconnecting the elements of the circuit manually and measuring with conventional instrumentation.
- USB connector for connecting the equipment to the PC.
It includes a fuel cell with the following characteristics:
- Fuel cell with 20 18 cm2 stacks.
- Power: 50 W – 4.24 A (12-19 V).
- Fan, pressure reducer, and drain electrovalve.
- Dimensions: 116 x 115 x 75 mm.
- Weight: 900 gr.
The control card of the fuel cell governs the following scales:
- 12 V fan speed control.
- Temperature control.
- 12 V electrovalve control.
- Voltage and current control.
- Status of the drain valve.
Data acquisition system via the PC:
The integrated data acquisition system, together with its software application developed in LabVIEW, allows the user o study the fuel cell from a functional perspective as well as carry out an energetic assessment by obtaining its characteristics automatically from the PC, with no need for additional consumption elements or instrumentation.
Control and monitoring software
Virtual instrumentation VI software application developed in LabView which makes it possible to monitor the main scales of the fuel cell system, perform different types of tests and control the system, all from the PC. The application includes the following main functions:
- “Activities” windows: These facilitate the execution of the exercises proposed in the practices manual. When the student accesses a specific activity, the diagram of this activity is shown with its associated virtual instrumentation. Also, the training device is configured automatically via the internal relays, as shown in the diagram.
- PAC Start-up.
- Running in empty.
- Running in load.
- I-V curve.
- Characteristic curve.
- “Measurements” windows: For measuring variables in the different components or points on the circuit. The variables are presented in numerical and graphic form.
- Status of the system: Status of the drain valve and operational mode of the management card.
- External physical variables: Temperature, relative humidity.
- In the Stack: Voltage, current, power, internal temperature, hydrogen consumption.
- In the Management Card: Voltage, current, power.
- ”Control” window: For controlling the training device’s internal relays via virtual buttons for opening and closing the different points of the circuit. For configuring the training panel from the PC, according to the particular test or practice to be performed.
- “Tests” windows: For performing tests and obtaining characteristics curves. They include configuration functions for the signals to be received and testing times, results analysis functions, exporting data, printing and saving images, creating X-Y graphs.