Development of a maximum-power-point tracking algorithm for direct methanol fuel cell and its realization in a fuel cell/supercapacitor hybrid energy system

Ka Hong Loo, G. R. Zhu, Y. M. Lai, Chi Kong Tse

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) have been widely researched for applications in portable electronics due to their use of liquid fuel for easy storage and transportation compared to gaseous hydrogen. However, DMFC's performance is strongly affected by methanol crossover that significantly degrades the fuel conversion efficiency at low output power, and is characterized by an increasing efficiency at increasing output power. The maximum efficiency point (MEP) is inherently difficult to track due to the commonly unknown methanol crossover rate, but since it is typically located very close to the maximum power point (MPP), an alternative tracking approach based on the MPP is proposed. In this paper, a fuel-cell-oriented MPP tracking (MPPT) algorithm based on resistance matching is developed, implemented, and tested in the context of a DMFC/supercapacitor hybrid power system. To account for the generally slow fuel cell dynamics, the DMFC is constantly tracked at the MPP while any surplus or deficit power is absorbed or delivered by the supercapacitor bank. The detailed formulation of the algorithm and the power flow design and realization are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication8th International Conference on Power Electronics - ECCE Asia
Subtitle of host publication"Green World with Power Electronics", ICPE 2011-ECCE Asia
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2011
Event8th International Conference on Power Electronics - ECCE Asia: "Green World with Power Electronics", ICPE 2011-ECCE Asia - Jeju, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 30 May 20113 Jun 2011


Conference8th International Conference on Power Electronics - ECCE Asia: "Green World with Power Electronics", ICPE 2011-ECCE Asia
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of


  • bi-directional converter
  • direct methanol fuel cell
  • Fuel cell
  • maximum power point tracking
  • power management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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