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A PEMFC with integrated power converter

​Two of the major challenges around fuel cell systems are making them more compact and reducing heat loss. The CEA's SmartFuelCell concept features a DC-DC power converter integrated directly into the fuel-cell stack's bipolar plate—parts of the mechanical system and cooling circuit are shared. 

Published on 17 March 2023

A converter with a maximum input current of 175 A was developed  for the EU FLHYSAFE (Fuel celL HYdrogen System for AircraFt Emergency Operation) project. All of the requirements of the multi-physics system, which includes power and control electronics, automation, and mechanical and cooling systems in a compact form factor, were integrated into the converter's design.

Testing at the CEA confirmed that the converter's performance meets the majority of the specifications drawn up for the project. The converter obtained between 96% and 97% efficiency over a wide output power range (between 7.5 kW and 30 kW) and at a high cooling temperature (65 °C). 

Once it was assembled onto the stack end plate, initial tests were completed to ensure the stack-plus-converter subassembly was working correctly. The subassembly, which delivered around 6 kW of power on the CEA test bench, is currently being integrated into a complete system for functional testing at nominal voltage for aeronautics applications.


This project received funding from the Clean Hydrogen Partnership under grant agreement no. 779576. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program, Hydrogen Europe, and Hydrogen Europe Research.

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