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Research Papers

A Two-Dimensional Modeling Study of a Planar SOFC Using Actual Cell Testing Geometry and Operating Conditions

[+] Author and Article Information
Gianfranco DiGiuseppe1

 Kettering University, 1700 University Avenue, Flint, MI 48504-4898gdigiuse@kettering.edu

Yeshwanth J. Gowda, Naveen K. Honnagondanahalli

 Kettering University, 1700 University Avenue, Flint, MI 48504-4898

1

Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 9(1), 011016 (Dec 27, 2011) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005124 History: Received August 17, 2011; Revised September 14, 2011; Published December 27, 2011; Online December 27, 2011

This paper reports a new electrochemical performance study performed on a planar SOFC cell. This study consists of a 2D model developed using a commercial software, namely Comsol Multiphysics. The model includes fluid dynamics, electrochemistry, electrical conduction, and diffusion physics. This model was built using the actual button cell testing geometry and using experimental data for validation purposes. The objective of this study is to understand the effects of the testing setup used on the cell performance and to recommend an improved design or geometry where the cell performance is independent of any flow maldistribution in both the air and fuel side of the SOFC cell. The air and fuel flow rates are studied to determine the effects on the cell performance. The effects of electrode porosities are studied together with the fuel and air flow rates. The distance from the SOFC cell to the discharge fuel feed tube and air chamber geometry are studied as well. The modeling results indicate that the SOFC electrochemical performance becomes independent of any flow maldistribution at relatively high flow rates for both fuel and air. Reduced electrode porosities play a role in the cell performance, and larger flow rates are required in order to achieve a cell performance independent of flow rates. The cell performance is also affected by the distance from the SOFC cell to the fuel discharge tube and the air chamber geometry. The behavior seen in the cell performance can be explained by a non-uniform mole fraction of reactants near the electrode surface.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

SOFC dimensions used in this model development study

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Figure 2

Illustration of the button cells testing setup (not drawn to scale)

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Figure 3

Model validation using experimental voltage-current density data

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Figure 4

Velocity profile (a), velocity vectors (b), and streamlines (c) for standard testing conditions and a cell voltage of 0.3 V

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Figure 5

Evolution of the hydrogen mole fractions in the anode side for standard testing conditions as a function of cell voltage

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Figure 6

Evolution of the oxygen mole fractions in the cathode side for standard testing conditions as a function of cell voltage

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Figure 7

Cell performance as a function of air flow rate

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Figure 8

Cell performance as a function of fuel flow rate

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Figure 9

Cell performance as a function of air flow rate for reduced cathode porosity, ɛ=0.3

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Figure 10

Cell performance as a function of fuel flow rate for reduced anode porosity, ɛ=0.3

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Figure 11

Cell performance as a function of fuel flow rate for reduced fuel chamber height by one half, hfuel/2

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Figure 12

Cell performance as a function of fuel flow rate for increased fuel chamber height by 50%, hfuel*1.5

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Figure 13

(a) Modified cathode exhaust and (b) cell performance as a function of air flow rate

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