Combustion engines are increasingly being regarded as unsustainable in the long-term, because of their negative impact on the environment (e.g. pollution, green-house gas production, and global warming). This has generated worldwide interest in propulsion systems based on renewable alternative energy sources for the future. Fuel cell technology is a promising alternative power source because of their high specific energy, efficiency, and reliability. Hydrogen proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) in particular produces zero carbon emissions by having only water vapor as the exhaust. Although there has been much research by automotive industries in developing fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles (FCHEV), fuel cell research for aircraft application is relatively new. Therefore, there is a pressing need for research related to development of aircraft fuel cell electric propulsion systems. Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) is conducting static experiments on different configurations of fuel cell electric propulsion systems. The objective of this study is to understand the behavior of a PEMFC propulsion system under a ground-based static test. A 1 kW PEMFC was used as the main power source for a brushless DC motor electric propulsion system. The electrical characteristics, rotational speed, and thrust data were presented for two different electrical propellers. Analyses of the results were used to characterize the effectiveness of the fuel cell system and its balance of plant. The results were beneficial as a predictive method on defining the optimum electric propulsion system performance needed for future actual flight development.
|Number of pages
|Applied Mechanics and Materials
|Published - Sept 2013