A new, hybrid integrated topology, fed by photovoltaic (PV) and fuel cell (FC) sources and suitable for distributed generation applications, is proposed. It works as an uninterruptible power source that is able to feed a certain minimum amount of power into the grid under all conditions. PV is used as the primary source of power operating near maximum power point (MPP), with the FC section (block), acting as a current source, feeding only the deficit power. The unique “integrated” approach obviates the need for dedicated communication between the two sources for coordination and eliminates the use of a separate, conventional dc/dc boost converter stage required for PV power processing, resulting in a reduction of the number of devices, components, and sensors. Presence of the FC source in parallel (with the PV source) improves the quality of power fed into the grid by minimizing the voltage dips in the PV output. Another desirable feature is that even a small amount of PV power (e.g., during low insolation), can be fed into the grid. On the other hand, excess power is diverted for auxiliary functions like electrolysis, resulting in an optimal use of the energy sources. The other advantages of the proposed system include low cost, compact structure, and high reliability, which render the system suitable for modular assemblies and “plug-n-play” type applications. All the analytical, simulation results of this research are presented.
INDEX TERMS: Buck-boost, distributed generation, fuel cell, grid-connected, hybrid, maximum power point tracking (MPPT), photovoltaic.
Fig. 1. Various HDGS configurations. (a) Conventional, multistage topology using two H-bridge inverters , . (b) Modified topology with only one H-bridge inverter . (c) Proposed topology. λ denotes solar insolation (Suns).
Fig. 2. Simulation results of the integrated hybrid configuration showing transition from mode III to mode II and then to mode I. T1 and T2 denote the transition between mode III to mode II and mode II to mode I respectively.
Fig. 3. Simulation results of the integrated hybrid configuration operating in electrolysis mode (mode I to mode III and then to mode I). T1 and T2 denote the transition between mode I to mode III and mode III to mode I respectively.
Fig.4. Performance comparison of the proposed HDGS system with and without an FC source in parallel with the PV source.
A compact topology, suitable for grid-connected applications has been proposed. Its working principle, analysis, and design procedure have been presented. The topology is fed by a hybrid combination of PV and FC sources. PV is the main source, while FC serves as an auxiliary source to compensate for the uncertainties of the PV source. The presence of FC source improves the quality of power (grid current THD, grid voltage profile, etc.) fed into the grid and decreases the time taken to reach theMPP. Table IV compares the system performance with and without the FC block in the system. A good feature of the proposed configuration is that the PV source is directly coupled with the inverter (and not through a dedicated dc–dc converter) and the FC block acts as a current source. Considering that the FC is not a stiff dc source, this facilitates PV operation at MPP over a wide range of solar insolation, leading to an optimal utilization of the energy sources. The efficiency of the proposed system in mode-1 is higher (around 85% to 90%) than mode 2 and 3 (around 80% to 85%).
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