June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Energy Conversion and Conservation
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. https://peer.asee.org/28833
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