ISSN 1068-3712, Russian Electrical Engineering, 2017, Vol. 88, No. 12, pp. 818–822. © Allerton Press, Inc., 2017.
Original Russian Text © S.Ya. Galushin, D.N. Shamanov, 2017, published in Elektrotekhnika, 2017, No. 12, pp. 49–54.
A Gas-Recirculation Control System in a Battery of Fuel Cells
S. Ya. Galushin* and D. N. Shamanov
St. Petersburg State Maritime Technical University, St. Petersburg, 190121 Russia
Received November 14, 2017
Abstract⎯Currently, power plants based on hydrogen–oxygen fuel cells are widely used. The advantages of
such electrochemical generators are environmental friendliness, efficiency, and a wide power-output range.
Some components of such engines are still being developed. One of these components is the working gas-
recirculation system, which increases the efficiency of an installation. In addition, this system helps support
the water balance in a fuel-cell stack by removing the water that occurs in the cavities of the membrane–elec-
trode block as a result of the electrochemical reaction. With consideration of the complexity of the reactions
that occur in an installation, an automatic control system (ACS) is necessary for the gas recirculation system.
This article deals with the organization of an automatic control system based on a microprocessor controller,
sensors, and actuators, which implements control algorithms for the components of the gas recirculation sys-
Keywords: fuel cells, control system, microcontroller, sensors, actuators
In a fuel-cell stack (FCS) with solid-polymer elec-
trolytes, the working gases are hydrogen and oxygen.
In the process of the electrochemical reaction of gases,
an electric current and water occur on the membrane–
electrode block. Water must be removed to prevent
flooding of a fuel cell. Providing the water regime of
batteries with solid-polymer membranes and the
effect of the water regime on the dynamic and perfor-
mance characteristics are detailed in a number of
Certainly, it is inefficient to discharge the fed-
hydrogen excess into the atmosphere. It should be
returned into the circuit, back to the electrochemical-
generator input. The same holds for oxygen. The data
in [1, 2] and experimental studies performed at St.
Petersburg State Maritime Technical University show
that a two- or threefold hydrogen consumption (com-
pared to the stoichiometric one) through the anode
cavity of a battery is necessary to provide optimal con-
ditions of the FCS operating mode.
For example, under an FCS power of 5 kW, the
electric-power consumption by the hydrogen-feed
and -circulation circuit for its own needs is about
19.4%, which is unacceptably high. In the case in
which an electric pump is substituted by an alternative
consumption actuator that does not require electric-
energy consumption for its own needs, the electric-
power consumption of the anode gas-feed and -circu-
lation circuit decreases to about 20 W, which is only
0.4% of the total FCS power. One such consumption
actuator is a jet recirculation device (JRD)  provid-
ing the necessary multiplicity of the hydrogen circula-
tion under all FCS operation modes.
The general scheme for the recirculation of
reagents using jet devices is shown in Fig. 1.
The working gas from a storage system or from
another source is fed through a KR pressure regulator
to the JRD working nozzle input under pressure P
. Apparently, in the absence of leak-
ages in the system, working-gas consumption G
equal to stoichiometric consumption G
tion of gas pumped using a jet device G
using the formula
is the ejected-gas consumption.
The reagent-consumption-multiplicity (excess)
coefficient through a fuel-cell stack (K
) is as follows:
With consideration of (2) and equality of the work-
ing-gas consumption and the stoichiometric-reagent
consumption for fuel-cell stacks, the following is
pg rc wk
rc wk rc wk rc
st wk wk
GG GG G