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Technical Briefs

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Performance With Cross-Flow Roughness

[+] Author and Article Information
Kimberly L. Christman, Michael K. Jensen

Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 8th Street Troy, NY 12180-3590

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(2), 024501 (Dec 01, 2010) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002399 History: Received February 19, 2010; Revised August 13, 2010; Published December 01, 2010; Online December 01, 2010

To increase power per unit volume in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), the mono-block-layer-built SOFC used an innovative shape to increase active surface area. The objective of this study is to increase reaction area in a planar fuel cell while avoiding the negative aspects of large thermal gradients, Ohmic loss, and concentration loss by using a common heat transfer enhancement technique (i.e., cross-flow roughness). A numerical model developed with the commercial software FLUENT was used to compare the effects of four rib geometries, such as rib shape, rib spacing, and rib area, on performance under conditions simulating the flow in a typical SOFC. Cross-flow roughness geometries had minimal effect on mixing but increased active area of the cells, resulting in improved performance while maintaining similar thermal gradients and current path lengths to the standard planar fuel cell geometry.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Geometry of base model SOFC: (a) three-dimensional drawing of the planar SOFC, (b) configuration of unit cell SOFC, and (c) configuration of unit cell in GAMBIT and FLUENT

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Figure 2

SOFC half channel geometries and electrolyte surface areas, Ai

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Figure 3

Thermal profile of SOFCs with varied geometries of 0.56 A load

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Figure 4

System performance based on (a) plan area and (b) true electrolyte area

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Figure 5

Velocity vectors of SOFC with varied geometry 0.56 A load

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