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Solar Regenerative Hydrogen Fuel Cell Charging System

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Using Real-World Examples

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

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Paper Authors


Felipe Euyoqui Mojica University of California, Merced

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From Bakersfield, California, I am a first year Mechanical Engineering Master's Student at the University of California, at Merced. There I am a member of the Thermal and Electrochemical Energy Lab. My field of research focuses on the operation of proton exchange membrane fuel cells.

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Po-Ya Abel Chuang University of California, Merced

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Dr. Po-Ya Abel Chuang is an Assistant Professor in School of Engineering at University of California, Merced. His research interests include PEMFC, AEMFC, water electrolysis, thermal management, loop heat pipe, two-phase heat transfer and fluid flow, and porous material. Prof. Chuang received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from National Cheng-Kung University in Taiwan. In 2003, he received his doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State University. In 2004, Prof. Chuang led research projects at Penn State as a Postdoctoral Scholar to study water distribution in a PEM fuel cell using neutron radiography sponsored by both General Motors and Toyota Motors. Between 2005 and 2011, Prof. Chuang worked at the fuel cell laboratory in General Motors leading efforts in material development, cell integration, and stack diagnostic. Between 2007 and 2011, Prof. Chuang was the team leader at GM responsible for diffusion media development. In 2009, he finished Executive MBA degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. After 2011, Prof. Chuang has been dedicated his fuel cell research work in the academia. Prof. Chuang has more than 10 technical publications and 8 patents. He has also given more than 15 invited talks in international workshops and conferences including Gordon Fuel Cell Conference in Rhode Island, Tianda International Fuel Cell Workshop in Tianjin, Canada-US Fuel Cell Modeling and Characterization Workshop in Canada, etc. Prof. Chuang has also received multiple awards including Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching award, UC Merced; Discovery Park Research Fellowship, Purdue University; Honorary Member of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, etc.

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Uriel Ruiz

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Facing increasing levels of air pollution from the use of fossil fuel, producing clean renewable energy has become a high priority of our society today. In California the goal is to meet half of the state’s energy demands with renewables by 2030, which is achievable with abundant solar and wind energy available in California. However, renewable energies like solar or wind are not available throughout the day. That is, renewable energy from solar or wind energy can only be produced intermittently, which usually does not align with energy demand. This has become a significant barrier for renewable energy to be widely adapted. An additional effort is required to harvest and store the excess energy during peak production period to supply the energy demand during off production period. The objective of our study is to design a solar powered regenerative hydrogen fuel cell charging system at University of California, Merced. Our work includes the design, integration and testing of a charging system. The system is comprised of 6 photovoltaic modules rated at 3.0 W each, in-house design gravity-assisted gas storage tanks, a 1.0 W water electrolyzer, and a 3.0 W fuel cell stack. The well-integrated system is capable of providing 2.0 – 2.5 W to charge a cell phone during day and night time. During the sunny day, the energy from the photovoltaic modules was used to directly charge the phone and power the water electrolysis for hydrogen generation. For our demonstration system, the 1.0 W water electrolyzer cell can produce more than 4.0 L of hydrogen under ambient pressure on an average day at Merced, CA. The generated hydrogen fills the storage system during the sunny day and is released to the 3.0 W fuel cell stack to charge various cellular phones at night or during cloudy day. A DC voltage booster was used to meet the charging requirement (4.5 V-5.0 V). In our study, we have successfully demonstrated that solar energy can be used to meet our energy need all year round with well-integrated electrochemical devices like electrolyzer and fuel cell. This system provides a proof-of-concept study to meet our future energy demand with a sustainable solution.

Mojica, F. E., & Chuang, P. A., & Ruiz, U. (2017, June), Solar Regenerative Hydrogen Fuel Cell Charging System Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28833

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