Direct Coupling of Photovoltaic Panels with PEM Electrolyser Solar-Hydrogen Systems

B. Paul and J. Andrews (Australia)


Photovoltaic panels, maximum power point, PEM electrolyser, optimal coupling and solarhydrogen RAPS.


In this paper an effort has been made to match the load of a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser with the maximum power point of photovoltaic (PV) panels without any dc-dc converter or maximum power point tracker. A mathematical model has been developed to generate the current (I)-voltage (V) characteristic curves of BP 275 solar panels. I-V characteristic curve of the StaXX7 PEM electrolyser has been obtained experimentally. To match the electrolyser load with the output of the PV panels, the annual energy transfer has been calculated for various series-parallel configurations of both the panels and the electrolyser. It has been found that a configuration exists for which the electrolysers operate near to the maximum power point of PV panels without any intervening electronic system between the PV panels and electrolysers. From a full year frequency analysis of solar radiation data it has been predicted that only about 2.6% of the maximum energy potentially available from the PV panels will be lost over the year compared to the optimal coupling condition based on maximum power point, when four series connected PV modules are directly coupled with five series connected electrolysers. Experimental work is in progress to validate this theoretical finding.

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