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Research Papers

Constant Fuel Utilization Operation of a SOFC System: An Efficiency Viewpoint

[+] Author and Article Information
P. Vijay

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, 721302 Kharagpur, Indiavijay103@rediffmail.com

A. K. Samantaray1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, 721302 Kharagpur, Indiasamantaray@lycos.com

A. Mukherjee

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, 721302 Kharagpur, Indiaamalendu@mech.iitkgp.ernet.in

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(4), 041011 (Apr 07, 2010) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4000631 History: Received August 02, 2008; Revised July 26, 2009; Published April 07, 2010; Online April 07, 2010

The operating conditions of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system that result in maximum efficiency needs to be studied by considering the whole closed circuit system because operating at maximum cell efficiency may not lead to maximum system efficiency. In this paper, this study is performed with the aid of a comprehensive steady state model of the SOFC, the after-burner, and the heat exchangers. In order to account for the large irreversibilities, the SOFC model is derived by the application of the second law of thermodynamics to the fuel cell control volumes. The SOFC system efficiency is maximized by employing a recursive algorithm with two cascaded optimization loops, which also gives the corresponding cell operating conditions. Complex control laws are required for controlling the SOFC system for maximum efficiency. On the other hand, it is found that an appropriately chosen constant fuel utilization operation closely approximates the maximum efficiency operation of the fuel cell in its operating range.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

(a) A schematic of a SOFC system considered in this work. (b) a schematic of a single cell showing the different control volumes (dashed lines).

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Figure 2

Flow chart of the function Func 1 used in the optimization routine

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Figure 3

SOFC system operating conditions for maximum efficiency (●) and constant FU (◼) operations showing (a) anode and cathode inlet mass flow rates, (b) the FU and AU, (c) voltages and power densities and (d) the pressures and temperatures

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Figure 4

The energy and exergy efficiencies of the SOFC system for maximum efficiency (●) and constant FU (◼) operations

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