A Novel System and Technique for Enhancing the Lifetime of an Air Breathing Micro PEM Fuel Cell Based Power Source

P. Ramesh
M. Jithesh
Varun Devaraj, Portland State University


Lately, there have been a tremendous amount ofresearch in the field ofrenewable energy utilizing the fuel cell technology. This paper presents a highly reliable micro PEJvffuel cell based power supply system which can operate in adverse and varying ambient conditions with a comparatively lower probability ofcell damage. The life of a cell is greatly affected by catalyst poisoning- caused by selective adsorption of carbon monoxide by the platinum catalyst thereby reducing the rate of cell reaction by blocking its active sites; fuel starvation - resulting from the scarcity ofoxygen required for the reaction to take place; and local hotspot generation caused by the non-uniformity in membrane impedance which occurs in the course of operation. The proposed system minimizes these threats with the help of an algorithm to overcome the issue of catalyst poisoning and fuel starvation and a mitigation algorithm to minimize the effect ofimpedance variation. It can be then used to power up portable electronic devices like wireless sensor nodes.