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A metal hydride air-conditioning system for fuel cell vehicles

Weckerle, Christoph (2020) A metal hydride air-conditioning system for fuel cell vehicles. Dissertation, Universität Stuttgart.

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High-pressure tanks are the established hydrogen storage technology for automotive systems. However, around 15% of the lower heating value of hydrogen is required for compression up to a pressure of 700 bar. Since this energy is available onboard but has been wasted so far, an “open” cooling system based on metal hydrides (MHs) is a promising way to utilize the potential energy of compressed hydrogen. The thesis presents the systematic investigation of a first-of-its-kind system and a demonstration of the extent to which this energy can be transformed into useful cold. For this purpose, an experimental setup is built that consists of two novel plate reactors coupled to a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (FC). The reactors with an optimized heat transfer characteristic and an average heat transfer distance in the MH bed of 0.44 mm are filled with around 1.5 kg of Hydralloy® C2 (Ti0.98Zr0.02Mn1.46V0.41Cr0.05Fe0.08), which is thermodynamically characterized in the temperature range of 0-50 °C. The functional demonstration at an electrical power of 5 kW shows that the FC operation is not affected by the alternately H2-desorbing reactors with a half-cycle duration of 145 s. Hydrogen is absorbed at a pressure of 35 bar and a continuous flow rate is released at an FC backpressure of 4.1 bar. Under reference conditions for an ambient temperature of 30 °C and a cooling temperature of 20 °C, around 45% of the as-yet-unexploited potential energy of hydrogen at 700 bar can be utilized by generating a cooling effect. A novel operation optimization of time-shifted valve switching increases the performance by more than 50% compared to the case without its implementation. Based on reference conditions, extensive performance investigations are performed while varying the key influencing parameters: the electrical FC power and the operating temperatures. The variation of the electrical FC power between 1.8 and 7.9 kW results in a maximum average cooling power of 807 W at an electrical power of 7 kW, reaching a specific cooling power of 564 W kgMH-1 referred to the MH mass of a single reactor. The performance decreases with rising ambient temperatures (varied in the range of 24.3-42.3 °C) and decreasing cooling temperatures (varied in the range of 13-25.4 °C) due to increased thermal losses and reduced half-cycle times. To further improve the performance, the plate reactor is numerically investigated and optimization recommendations are given. The validated model shows that an increase of the cooling power is obtained by reducing the distance of the hydrogen gas transport, the porosity of the MH bed and the FC backpressure. For this optimized system design, related to the maximum obtainable cooling power of 18.3% of the electrical FC power, cooling efficiencies above 60% are feasible even in harsher operating conditions. As an innovative “hydrogen pressure transducer”, the system can be transferred to all applications where a hydrogen pressure difference is available.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/142101/
Document Type:Thesis (Dissertation)
Title:A metal hydride air-conditioning system for fuel cell vehicles
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Weckerle, ChristophUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-9333-949X
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Number of Pages:138
Keywords:Metal hydrides, Thermochemical, Cooling system,
Institution:Universität Stuttgart
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Transport
HGF - Program Themes:Road Transport
DLR - Research area:Transport
DLR - Program:V ST Straßenverkehr
DLR - Research theme (Project):V - NGC Antriebssystem und Energiemanagement
Location: Stuttgart
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics > Thermal Process Technology
Deposited By: Linder, Marc Philipp
Deposited On:03 May 2021 08:34
Last Modified:03 May 2021 08:34

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