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Research Papers

Electrical and Thermal Performance of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Unit With Nonuniform Inlet Flow and High Fuel Utilization

[+] Author and Article Information
Syu-Fang Liu, Shih-Bin Wang

 Lee Ming Institute of Technology, 2-2 Lee Zhuan Road, Taishan, 243 Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

Mu-Sheng Chiang

 Nan Kai University of Technology, 568 Chung Cheng Road, Tsaotun, 542 Nantou, Taiwan, ROC

Ping Yuan

 Lee Ming Institute of Technology, 2-2 Lee Zhuan Road, Taishan, 243 Taipei, Taiwan, ROCpyuan@mail.lit.edu.tw

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(3), 031002 (Feb 15, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002228 History: Received August 15, 2009; Revised June 15, 2010; Published February 15, 2011; Online February 15, 2011

This study investigates the electrical performance of a planar solid oxide fuel cell unit with cross-flow configuration when the fuel utilization gets higher and the fuel inlet flows are nonuniform. A numerical code, solving the two-dimensional, simultaneous, partial differential equations of mass, energy, and electrochemistry and neglecting the stack direction variation effect, is developed. The results show that the fuel utilization increases with a decrease in the molar flow rate, and the average current density decreases when the molar flow rate drops. In addition, nonuniform pattern A induces more severe happening of nonreaction area in the corner of the fuel exit and the air inlet. This nonreaction area deteriorates the average current density and then reduces the electrical performance to 7%. This study suggests that the fuel inlet manifold should be located far from the inlet of air, which is able to decrease the deterioration to below 3% when using nonuniform profile of pattern B. On the other hand, employing a suitable air flow rate, we can easily control the operating temperature of a solid oxide fuel cell unit and the effect of nonuniform inlet air flow rate on the temperature distribution becomes negligible.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic diagram of a unit of solid oxide fuel cell in cross-flow

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Figure 2

Arrangements of nonuniform fuel inlet flow patterns in this study

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Figure 3

Current density distribution in patterns A and B when nf=0.009 and na=0.009 mol s−1

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Figure 4

Current density distribution in patterns A and B when nf=0.0045 and na=0.009 mol s−1

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Figure 5

Current density distribution in patterns A and B when nf=0.00338 and na=0.009 mol s−1

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Figure 6

Relative change of average current density in nonuniform pattern related to a uniform pattern

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Figure 7

Average current density versus voltage at different molar flow rate of fuel and different inlet flow patterns

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Figure 8

Arrangements of nonuniform air inlet flow patterns of the air in this study

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Figure 9

Cell temperature distribution in pattern F (uniform pattern) when nf=na=0.009, 0.0045, and 0.00338 mol s−1

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Figure 10

Cell temperature distribution in pattern F (uniform pattern) when nf=0.009, 0.0045, 0.00338, and na=0.009 mol s−1

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