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A Nonlinear H-Infinity Approach to Optimal Control of PEM Fuel Cells


A new nonlinear H-infinity control approach is applied to PEM fuel cells. First, the dynamic model of the PEM fuel cells undergoes approximate linearisation, through Taylor series expansion, round local operating points which are defined at each time instant by the present value of the system’s state vector and the last value of the control input that was exerted on it. The linearisation procedure requires the computation of Jacobian matrices at the aforementioned operating points. The modelling error, which is due to the truncation of higher order terms in the Taylor series expansion is perceived as a perturbation that should be compensated by the robustness of the control loop. Next, for the linearized equivalent model of the PEM fuel cells, an H-infinity feedback control loop is designed. This approach, is based on the concept of a differential game that takes place between the control input (which tries to minimize the deviation of the state vector from the reference setpoints) and the disturbance input (that tries to maximize it). In such a case, the computation of the optimal control input requires the solution of an algebraic Riccati equation at each iteration of the control algorithm. The known robustness properties of H-infinity control enable compensation of model uncertainty and rejection of the perturbation terms that affect the PEM fuel cells system. The stability of the control loop is proven through Lyapunov analysis. Actually, it is shown that H-infinity tracking performance is succeeded, while conditionally the asymptotic stability of the control loop is also demonstrated. The efficiency of the proposed control scheme for the PEM fuel cells model is further confirmed through simulation experiments.

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Funding was provided by Unit of Industrial Automation / Industrial Systems Institute (Grant No. Ref 5585 / Intelligent Renewable Energy Systems).

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Rigatos, G., Siano, P., Wira, P. et al. A Nonlinear H-Infinity Approach to Optimal Control of PEM Fuel Cells. Intell Ind Syst 3, 43–58 (2017).

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  • PEM fuel cells
  • Nonlinear control
  • H-infinity control
  • Optimal control
  • Local linearization
  • Riccati equation
  • Lyapunov stability analysis