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Accurate simplified dynamic model of a metal hydride tank


As proton exchange membrane fuel cell technology advances, the need for hydrogen storage intensifies. Metal hydride alloys offer one potential solution. However, for metal hydride tanks to become a viable hydrogen storage option, the dynamic performance of practical tank geometries and configurations must be understood and incorporated into fuel cell system analyses. A dynamic, axially-symmetric, multi-nodal metal hydride tank model has been created in Matlab-Simulink® as an initial means of providing insight and analysis capabilities for the dynamic performance of commercially available metal hydride systems. Following the original work of Mayer et al. [Mayer U, Groll M, Supper W. Heat and mass transfer in metal hydride reaction beds: experimental and theoretical results. Journal of the Less-Common Metals 1987;131:235-44], this model employs first principles heat transfer and fluid flow mechanisms together with empirically derived reaction kinetics. Energy and mass balances are solved in cylindrical polar coordinates for a cylindrically shaped tank. The model tank temperature, heat release, and storage volume have been correlated to an actual metal hydride tank for static and transient absorption and desorption processes. A sensitivity analysis of the model was accomplished to identify governing physics and to identify techniques to lessen the computational burden for ease of use in a larger system model. The sensitivity analysis reveals the basis and justification for model simplifications that are selected. Results show that the detailed and simplified models both well predict observed stand-alone metal hydride tank dynamics, and an example of a reversible fuel cell system model incorporating each tank demonstrates the need for model simplification. © 2008 International Association for Hydrogen Energy.

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