Faculty Advisor

Datta, Ravindra

Faculty Advisor

Emanuel, Alexander E.


The goal of this project was to design a fuel cell controller for a manned, electric airplane. The controller operates the air compressor based on the power requirement of the fuel cell. Modeling of the proton exchange membrane fuel cell, air compressor, and control functions provided a method for designing the controller and an approximation of how much hydrogen fuel would be consumed over a typical flight profile. This project takes into consideration the electrochemical equations that govern the fuel cell output, the operation and efficiency of the air compressor, and the control method for maintaining adequate power production by the fuel cell system for the entire flight.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2003


Electrical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering

Advisor Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering