Correlation between field-test and laboratory results for a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) used as a residential cogeneration system

Nicolas Paulus1, ⋆, Camila Davila1, Vincent Lemort1
1 Université de Liège
Mots clés : PEMFC, field-test, modelling, in-situ, monitoring, laboratory
Résumé :

In the much-needed energy transition, focus is often brought to hydrogen and Fuel cells applications. This is even the case at a residential level as FC fed by natural gas (methane) are already commercialised as micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP) units. One of the latter systems, investigated in this study, is a PEMFC-gas boiler hybrid system, fed by natural gas, designed to provide all the heat demands of residential houses and to participate locally in the electrical production. Thanks to high integration levels, it combines the same PEMFC of nominal constant power of 0.75kWel and 1.1kWth with the same 220L DHW (Domestic Hot Water) tank. The gas boiler, mainly used for peak heat demands, is able to condense and is designed to provide up to 30.8kWth of thermal power. In previous work, this machine has been studied thanks to in-situ monitoring data in two houses in Belgium for the whole year 2020. Recently, an empirical polynomial model of the machine for daily efficiencies (electrical and thermal) has been established based on the energy demands of the building. It is mainly based on the DHW and space heating demands but it also considers the daily electrical production that can be achieved by the machine. This model has been chosen because it showed a quite satisfying goodness of fit for all the field-test results, whatever the house and the season considered.

This machine has also been acquired and tested in the facilities of the University of Liege for quite exhaustive testing. The results this work is based upon are the one conducted in steady-state operating conditions are resumed in this paper.

Lab testing steady-states studies and real field-test applications are usually very different because the operating conditions seen in practice are very specific to the installation, the climate and the behavior of the occupants. Despite that, this work’s purpose is to study how a correlation between field-test real results and steady-state lab results can still be conducted and how both studies can fit with one another.

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