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Research Papers

Implementing Thermal Management Modeling Into SOFC System Level Design

[+] Author and Article Information
K. J. Kattke

Division of Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401kkattke@mines.edu

R. J. Braun1

Division of Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401rbraun@mines.edu

“High” packing efficiencies are typically >65% where packing efficiency is defined as the sum of component volumes divided by the total enclosure volume.

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(2), 021009 (Nov 30, 2010) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002233 History: Received May 27, 2010; Revised July 02, 2010; Published November 30, 2010; Online November 30, 2010

Effective thermal management is critical to the successful design of small (<10kW) solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power systems. While separate unit processes occur within each component of the system, external heat transport from/to components must be optimally managed and taken into account in system-level design. In this paper, we present a modeling approach that captures thermal interactions among hot zone components and couples this information with system process design. The resulting thermal model is then applied to a mobile SOFC power system concept in the 1–2 kW range to enable a better understanding of how component heat loss affects process gas temperature and flow requirements throughout the flowsheet. The thermal performance of the system is examined for various thermal management strategies that involve altering the convective and radiative heat transfer in the enclosure. The impact of these measures on internal temperature distributions within the cell-stack is also presented. A comparison with the results from traditional adiabatic, zero-dimensional thermodynamic system modeling reveals that oxidant flow requirements can be overpredicted by as much as 204%, resulting in oversizing of recuperator heat duty by 221%, and that important design constraints, such as the magnitude of the maximum cell temperature gradient within the stack, are underpredicted by over 24%.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Stack module cut view

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Figure 2

Counterflow 1D planar stack model

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Figure 3

Stack module manifold enclosure with surface numbers

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Figure 4

Two cell-stack assembly as viewed from gas manifold

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Figure 5

Radiation resistance model (composite stack surface and adjacent insulation manifold surface radiation exchange shown)

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Figure 6

Manifold convection resistance network

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Figure 7

Stack insulation conduction model

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Figure 8

External surfaces of insulated stack assembly

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Figure 9

SOFC system thermal resistance model

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Figure 10

Burner resistance model connection to ambient temperature outside of enclosure

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Figure 11

Representative planar SOFC system

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Figure 12

Case A: thermally integrated SOFC system with recuperator exhaust gas circulation

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Figure 13

Case B: thermally integrated SOFC system without recuperator exhaust gas circulation

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Figure 14

Case C: thermodynamic SOFC system with quasi-adiabatic conditions

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Figure 15

Solid cell temperature profiles

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Figure 16

Solid cell temperature gradient profiles

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Figure 17

Heat transfer resistances to ambient versus enclosure cavity gas heat transfer coefficient

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Figure 18

Heat transfer from burner versus enclosure cavity gas heat transfer coefficient

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Figure 19

Enclosure heat transfer versus enclosure cavity gas heat transfer coefficient

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Figure 20

Sensitivity of oxidant flow rate to enclosure cavity heat transfer coefficient

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Figure 21

Effect of external heat transfer coefficient to surroundings on system operating conditions

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