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Scientific Operation # 2 : Hydrogen energy : Design, Diagnosis, Control

The research carried out in the Scientific Operation (OS) 2 concerns electrochemical converters of PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) type:

The design and conception of a reversible Fuel Cell (at the scale of the fuel cell core)

Renewable electricity production, whatever its source, has the major disadvantage of being intermittent. The question then becomes “how to store electricity during production peaks to consume it during consumption peaks”? One of the solutions currently recommended is to store energy via an electrolyzer that converts electricity into hydrogen and oxygen during low consumption hours. This energy is then returned via a Fuel Cell which converts hydrogen and oxygen back into electricity during peak consumption hours.

OS2 researchers are currently developing an innovative three-chamber reversible fuel cell concept that can perform the functions of electrolyser or fuel cell. The aim of this work is to design a an optimized system in terms of both space and cost.


Modeling and control of a PEMFC Fuel Cell A (system-wide)

PaC systems are electrochemical converters able to convert hydrogen into electricity. Several locks limit the large-scale integration of PEM type PAC systems, including membrane aging, which impacts both the durability, performance and maintenance cost of generators.

The PACs operation being governed by non-linear, multi-physical and multi-scale interactions, it is difficult to accurately characterize the operating conditions in order to optimize their performance and service life.

OS2 researchers are working on the diagnosis of system failures, and on service life forecast. The method used is the modelling of system behaviour and the design of fault-tolerant control algorithms. These tools help to prevent premature aging of these systems and thereby increase their reliability and durability.


Another related theme, in collaboration with the DSIMB laboratory (Dynamics of Systems and Interactions of Biological Macromolecules), is to explore, model and optimize new biological hydrogen production pathways by upgrading sugar co-products (second-generation biofuel).