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Research Papers

Experimental Testing of a Novel Kilowatt-Scale Multistack Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell Assembly for Combined Heat and Power

[+] Author and Article Information
Gladys Anyenya, Buddy Haun, Mark Daubenspeck, Robert Braun

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Colorado Fuel Cell Center,
Colorado School of Mines,
Golden, CO 80401

Neal P. Sullivan

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Colorado Fuel Cell Center,
Colorado School of Mines,
Golden, CO 80401
e-mail: nsulliva@mines.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received September 6, 2016; final manuscript received November 25, 2016; published online January 4, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Kevin Huang.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 13(4), 041001 (Jan 04, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: JEECS-16-1119; doi: 10.1115/1.4035352 History: Received September 06, 2016; Revised November 25, 2016

This paper describes experimental testing of a “geothermic fuel cell (GFC),” a novel application of solid-oxide fuel cells for combined heat and power. The geothermic fuel cell (GFC) is designed for in situ oil-shale processing. When implemented, the GFC is placed underground within an oil-shale formation; the heat released by the fuel cells while generating electricity is transferred to the oil shale, converting it into high-quality crude oil and natural gas. The GFC module presented here is comprised of three 1.5-kWe solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack-and-combustor assemblies packaged within a stainless-steel housing for the ease of installation within a bore hole drilled within the earth. The results from above-ground, laboratory testing of the geothermic fuel cell module are presented, with a number of operating conditions explored. Operation is demonstrated under hydrogen and natural-gas reformate fuels. The combined heat-and-power efficiency ranges from 56.2% to 74.2% at operating conditions that generally favor heat generation over electricity production. Testing of the geothermic fuel cell module over a wide operating range in a controlled, laboratory setting provides a valuable data set for developing more-detailed electrochemical and heat transfer models of module operation.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of the geothermic fuel cell module

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Fig. 2

Process flow diagram of geothermic fuel cell test bench (top) and test stand image (bottom)

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Fig. 3

Surface temperatures and energy flows into and out of the geothermic fuel cell module. Values are shown for the 35-A quasi-steady-state condition. Arrows are scaled to reflect the relative magnitude of energy flow entering and exiting the GFC module.

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Fig. 4

Distribution of energy outputs from the geothermic fuel cell module at state point 2 (35 A)

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Fig. 5

Distribution of energy outputs from the geothermic fuel cell module under H2–N2 fuel. The size of each pie is scaled to reflect the total energy output at each state point.

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