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Research Papers

SOFC Management in Distributed Energy Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
Daniele Chiappini

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, 00133 Rome, Italychiappini@ing.uniroma2.it

Andrea Luigi Facci

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, 00133 Rome, Italyandreafacci@gmail.com

Laura Tribioli

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, 00133 Rome, Italylaura.tribioli@ing.uniroma2.it

Stefano Ubertini

Department of Technologies, University of Naples “Parthenope”, 80143 Naples, Italystefano.ubertini@uniparthenope.it

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(3), 031015 (Mar 01, 2011) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002907 History: Received August 30, 2010; Revised October 05, 2010; Published March 01, 2011; Online March 01, 2011

Abstract

Among the distributed generation emerging technologies, solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) seem to be the most promising for small and medium power (up to 1 MW) as they feature extremely high efficiency and low pollutant emissions, and the high-grade waste heat can be utilized for space heating, process steam, and/or domestic hot water demands. As their main drawbacks are high cost and relatively short lifetime, much research is devoted to solve technological problems and to develop less expensive materials and mass production processes. However, even if SOFCs are close to commercialization and several demonstration units are already running, only few researches have been performed on their integration in power plants for distributed power generation, which are complex systems made up of different components that have to satisfy energy requirements (heat, electricity, and cooling). In this paper, we investigate the behavior of SOFCs in distributed energy systems and how their operation in terms of load and fuel utilization factor could optimize fuel consumption and/or minimize energy costs. The potential advantages of SOFCs related to their excellent part-load operation and their ability to meet and follow the highly noncoincident electric and thermal loads in either grid-connected or stand-alone configurations are discussed.

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Figures

Figure 1

Representation of the complex power plant and of the main energy streams

Figure 2

Input-output scheme

Figure 3

Schematic representation of the employed SOFC plant

Figure 4

Polarization curve comparison

Figure 5

Electric efficiency diagrams in function of temperature, load, and fuel utilization

Figure 6

Thermal efficiency diagrams in function of temperature, load, and fuel utilization

Figure 7

Maximum power in function of temperature and fuel utilization

Figure 8

Power plant electricity demand

Figure 9

Comparison between optimized and nonoptimized regulation strategies

Figure 10

Fuel utilization and cell load against time

Figure 11

ICEs regulation strategy

Figure 12

ICE and FC regulation strategies against electric demand

Figure 13

ICE and FC regulation strategies against thermal demand

Figure 14

Comparison between ICE and FC electric power output

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