Design of a high voltage input – output ratio dc-dc converter dedicated to small power fuel cell systems
Laboratoire de Génie Électrique de Paris (LGEP)/SPEE-Labs, SUPELEC, Univ.
Paris-Sud, Univ. Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6, CNRS (UMR 8507), 11 rue Joliot Curie, Plateau de Moulon, 91192 Gif-sur-Yvette, Cedex, France
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Revised: 29 June 2010
Accepted: 24 August 2010
Published online: 30 November 2010
Consuming chemical energy, fuel cells produce simultaneously heat, water and useful electrical power [J.M. Andújar, F. Segura, Renew. Sust. Energy Rev. 13, 2309 (2009)], [J. Larminie, A. Dicks, Fuel Cell Systems Explained, 2nd edn. (John Wiley & Sons, 2003)]. As a matter of fact, the voltage generated by a fuel cell strongly depends on both the load power demand and the operating conditions. Besides, as a result of many design aspects, fuel cells are low voltage and high current electric generators. On the contrary, electric loads are commonly designed for small voltage swing and a high V/I ratio in order to minimize Joule losses. Therefore, electric loads supplied by fuel cells are typically fed by means of an intermediate power voltage regulator. The specifications of such a power converter are to be able to step up the input voltage with a high ratio (a ratio of 10 is a classic situation) and also to work with an excellent efficiency (in order to minimize its size, its weight and its losses) [A. Shahin, B. Huang, J.P. Martin, S. Pierfederici, B. Davat, Energy Conv. Manag. 51, 56 (2010)]. This paper deals with the design of this essential ancillary device. It intends to bring out the best structure for fulfilling this function. Several dc-dc converters with large voltage step-up ratios are introduced. A topology based on a coupled inductor or tapped inductor is closely studied. A detailed modelling is performed with the purpose of providing designing rules. This model is validated with both simulation and implementation. The experimental prototype is based on the following specifications: the fuel cell output voltage ranges from a 50 V open-voltage to a 25 V rated voltage while the load requires a constant 250 V voltage. The studied coupled inductor converter is compared with a classic boost converter commonly used in this voltage elevating application. Even though the voltage regulator faces severe FC specifications, the measured efficiency reaches 96% at the rated power whereas conventional boost efficiency barely achieves 91.5% in the same operating conditions.
© EDP Sciences, 2010