Analysis of Active and Reactive Power Control of a Stand-Alone PEM Fuel Cell Power Plant


This paper presents analytical details of how active and reactive power output of a stand-alone proton-exchange-membrane (PE M) fuel cell power plant (F C PP) is controlled. This analysis is based on an integrated dynamic model of the entire power plant including the reformer. The validity of the analysis is verified when the model is used to predict the response of the power plant to: 1) computer-simulated step changes in the load active and reactive power demand and 2) actual active and reactive load profile of a single family residence. The response curves indicate the load-following characteristics of the model and the predicted changes in the analytical parameters predicated by the analysis.



  1. Active power control
  2. Fuel cell
  3. Fuel cell model
  4. PEM fuel cell
  5. Proton exchange membrane (PEM)
  6. Reactive power.


Fig. 1. FCPP, inverter and load connection diagram.



Fig. 2 Load step changes.

Fig. 3. FCPP output current.

Fig. 4. AC output voltage.

Fig. 5. Active output power.

Fig. 6. Reactive output power.

Fig.7 Output voltage phase angle.

Fig. 8. Hydrogen flow rate.

Fig. 9. AC output power.

Fig. 10. Active power of residential load.

Fig. 11. Reactive power of residential load.

Fig. 12 FCPP active power output.

Fig. 13. FCPP reactive power output.


This paper introduces an integrated dynamic model for a fuel cell power plant. The proposed dynamic model includes a fuel cell model, a gas reformer model, and a power conditioning unit block. The model introduces a scenario to control active and reactive power output from the fuel cell power plant. The analysis is based on traditional methods used for the control of active and reactive power output of a synchronous generator. To test the proposed model, its active and reactive power outputs are compared with variations in load demand of a single family residence. The results obtained show a fast response of the fuel cell power plant to load changes and the effectiveness of the proposed control technique for active and reactive power output.



[1] M. A. Laughton, “Fuel cells,” Power Eng. J., vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 37–47, Feb. 2002.

[2] S. Um et al., “Computational fluid dynamics modeling of proton exchange membrane fuel cell,” J. Power Electrochem. Soc., vol. 147, no. 12, pp. 4485–4493, 2000.

[3] D. Singh et al., “A two-dimension analysis of mass transport in proton exchange membrane fuel cells,” Int. J. Eng. Sci., vol. 37, pp. 431–452, 1999.

[4] J. C. Amphlett et al., “A model predicting transient response of proton exchange membrane fuel cells,” J. Power Sources, vol. 61, pp. 183–188, 1996.

[5] J. Padulles et al., “An integrated SOFC plant dynamic model for power systems simulation,” J. Power Sources, vol. 86, pp. 495–500, 2000.

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