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Research Papers

Modification of Results From Computational-Fluid-Dynamics Simulations of Single-Cell Solid-Oxide Fuel Cells to Estimate Multicell Stack Performance

[+] Author and Article Information
William J. Sembler

 United States Merchant Marine Academy, 300 Steamboat Road, Kings Point, NY 11024semblerw@usmma.edu

Sunil Kumar

 Polytechnic Institute of New York University, 6 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201skumar@poly.edu

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(2), 021008 (Nov 30, 2010) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002617 History: Received July 15, 2010; Revised August 30, 2010; Published November 30, 2010; Online November 30, 2010

A typical single-cell fuel cell is capable of producing less than 1 V of direct current. Therefore, to produce the voltages required in most industrial applications, many individual fuel cells must typically be stacked together and connected electrically in series. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can be helpful to predict fuel-cell performance before a cell is actually built and tested. However, to perform a CFD simulation using a three-dimensional model of an entire fuel-cell stack can require a considerable amount of time and multiprocessor computing capability that may not be available to the designer. To eliminate the need to model an entire multicell assembly, a study was conducted to determine the incremental effect on fuel-cell performance of adding individual solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) to a CFD model of a multicell stack. As part of this process, a series of simulations was conducted to establish a CFD-nodal density that would not only produce reasonably accurate results but could also be used to create and analyze the relatively large models of the multicell stacks. Full three-dimensional CFD models were then created of a single-cell SOFC and of SOFC stacks containing two, three, four, five, and six cells. Values of the voltages produced when operating with various current densities, together with temperature distributions, were generated for each of these CFD models. By comparing the results from each of the simulations, adjustment factors were developed to permit single-cell CFD results to be modified to estimate the performance of stacks containing multiple fuel cells. The use of these factors could enable fuel-cell designers to predict multicell stack performance using a CFD model of only a single cell.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 8

SOFC average electrolyte temperature versus dz (flow direction) mesh density

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Figure 9

Electrolyte temperature distribution (mesh dz=0.625 mm)

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Figure 10

Temperature distribution perpendicular to flow (mesh dz=0.625 mm)

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Figure 11

Optimized SOFC single-cell configuration

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Figure 12

Single- and multicell SOFCs evaluated

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Figure 13

Six-cell SOFC stack

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Figure 14

Total voltage produced per SOFC stack versus current density

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Figure 15

Total electrical power produced per SOFC stack versus current density

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Figure 16

Average voltage produced per individual fuel cell in SOFC stack versus current density

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Figure 17

Average voltage produced per individual fuel cell in SOFC stack versus number of fuel cells in stack

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Figure 18

Change in average voltage per individual fuel cell in SOFC stack versus number of fuel cells in stack

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Figure 20

SOFC-stack cathode-exhaust temperature versus number of fuel cells in stack

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Figure 21

Change in SOFC-stack cathode-exhaust temperature versus number of fuel cells in stack

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Figure 22

SOFC-stack anode-exhaust temperature versus current density

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Figure 23

SOFC-stack anode-exhaust temperature versus number of fuel cells in stack

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Figure 24

Change in SOFC-stack cathode-exhaust temperature versus number of fuel cells in stack

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Figure 25

Nos. 1 and 6 electrolyte temperature distributions in six-cell SOFC stack

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Figure 26

Temperature distribution in flow direction within six-cell SOFC stack

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Figure 27

Temperature distribution at inlet and outlet of six-cell SOFC stack normal to flow direction

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Figure 6

SOFC average electrolyte temperature versus dy (vertical direction) mesh density

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SOFC cell voltage versus dy (vertical direction) mesh density

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Figure 4

SOFC average electrolyte temperature versus dx (direction perpendicular to flow) mesh density

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Figure 3

SOFC cell voltage versus dx (direction perpendicular to flow) mesh density

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Figure 2

SOFC flow-channel arrangement

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Figure 1

Single-cell SOFC

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Figure 7

SOFC cell voltage versus dz (flow direction) mesh density

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Figure 28

SOFC multicell adjustment factors

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Figure 19

SOFC-stack cathode-exhaust temperature versus current density

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