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Research Papers

Performance Improvement of a Circular MCFC Through Optimal Design of the Fluid Distribution System

[+] Author and Article Information
Adriano Sciacovelli

Department of Energetics,  Politecnico di Torino, Torino, 10129, Italyadriano.sciacovelli@polito.it

Vittorio Verda

Department of Energetics,  Politecnico di Torino, Torino, 10129, Italyvittorio.verda@polito.it

Cristina Amelio

 FN SpA Nuove Tecnologie e Servizi Avanzati, Bosco Marengo, 15062, Italycristinaamelio@fnspa.com

Carlo Repetto

 FN SpA Nuove Tecnologie e Servizi Avanzati, Bosco Marengo, 15062, Italycarlorepetto@fnspa.com

Gustavo Diaz

 FN SpA Nuove Tecnologie e Servizi Avanzati, Bosco Marengo, 15062, Italygustavodiaz@fnspa.com

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 9(4), 041011 (Jun 19, 2012) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006798 History: Received September 16, 2011; Revised April 04, 2012; Published June 19, 2012; Online June 19, 2012

In this paper, the prototype of a circular molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) built in the laboratories of FN SpA Nuove Tecnologie e Servizi Avanzati is analyzed using a tridimensional computational fluid dynamic (CFD) model. The prototype is the result of FN and Politecnico di Torino activities developed for the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) within the framework of Ministry of Economic Development, MSE-ENEA. This model considers heat, mass and current transfer as well as chemical and electrochemical reactions. The results show that some inhomogeneous distributions in the reactants, causing nonoptimal use of the reactant surfaces. An effective way to improve the distribution in current density consists in tracing tree shaped channels on the surface onto the distribution porous medium. In this paper, Y shaped channels are adopted to improve the distribution of gas within the fuel cell and consequently to enhance the performance of the original design of the fuel cell. In addition, the configuration of the outlet of the anodic compartment is also investigated in order to further increase the performance of the fuel cell. The geometrical parameter identifying the topology of distribution channels are chosen accordingly to the constructal theory. The results show that significant improvements can be achieved. Power density is increased of about 6% when the tree-shaped channel is adopted. If a double anodic inlet is also considered, the enhancement in the power density is of about 11% with respect to the initial configuration.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Computational domain

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Figure 2

Cross section of the computational domain

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Figure 3

Pathlines in the anodic outlet channel

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Figure 4

Pathlines in the cathodic outlet channel

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Figure 5

Hydrogen mass fraction – anodic channel

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Figure 6

Water mass fraction – anodic channel

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Figure 7

Oxygen mass fraction – cathodic channel

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Temperature distribution

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MCFC geometry with Y-shaped distribution channel

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Figure 11

MCFC geometry with Y-shaped distribution channel

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Figure 12

Pathlines with Y-shaped channel – anode side view

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Figure 13

H2 mass fraction with Y-shaped channel – anode side view

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Figure 14

Current density

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Figure 15

Pathlines with Y-shaped channel and two outlets

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Figure 16

Current density distribution with two outlets

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Figure 17

Performance improvement

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