Prof. Gojmir Radica, member of the FESB team, was seconded to the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, Cape Town, from April 10th, 2023, to May 10th, 2023. During the visit, Prof. Radica was investigated the impact of varying the stoichiometric ratio of air and air pressure to enhance the air supply of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell system.

The optimization model for determining the working points of each parameter, aiming at the improvement of the efficiency of PEMFC system, is developed and verified. The research was focused into the influence of the pressure and air flow on the system efficiency of an 11 kW power module with a PEM fuel cell designed for forklift applications. The study analyses the relation between a higher oxygen partial pressure inside the stack (resulting in a higher efficiency) and the air compressor power consumption (leading to a lower efficiency) for two distinct load points during dynamical load operation. To achieve this, a power module with a fuel cell stack model was developed and validated using experimental data obtained during forklift operations under real loading conditions. Simulations encompass various parameters of the air mass flow and air pressure to assess their impact on system efficiency.

The purpose of the research is to understand and determine the influence of the mentioned parameters in order to be able to determine the rule that would be applied in the control module for optimizing the power module with fuel cells under dynamic load change conditions.

Prof. Radica was also working with the performance of different air compressors for implementation in fuel cell power modules.

Throughout the secondment, Prof. Radica actively collaborated with the team at the University of the Western Cape involved in the Hydride4Mobility project and together with Ivan Tolj, Mykhaylo V. Lototskyy and Sivakumar Pasupathi they prepared a paper to be published in international journal.

Prof. Radica, member of the Hydride4Mobility team, in front of a fuel cell powered module for a forklift, during visit at TF Design, Stellenbosch, April 2023.