Perspectives in Solid Oxide Fuel Cell based micro-Combined Heat and Power Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
Khaliq Ahmed

Department of Chemical Engineering, Curtin University, Bentley, WA 6102, AustraliaCeramic Fuel Cells Ltd. (CFCL), Noble Park, Victoria 3174, Australia

Karl Foger

Xinnotec Pty. Ltd., Kew, Victoria 3101, AustraliaCeramic Fuel Cells Ltd. (CFCL), Noble Park, Victoria 3174, Australia

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4036762 History: Received November 27, 2016; Revised May 10, 2017


The fuel cell technology has undergone extensive research and development in the past 20 years. Even though it has not yet made a commercial breakthrough, it is still seen as a promising enabling technology for emissions reduction. The high electrical efficiency [1,2] of an SOFC-based fuel cell system, and the ability to operate on renewable fuels makes it an ideal platform for transition from fossil-fuel dependency to a sustainable world relying on renewable energy, by reducing emissions during the transition period where fossil fuels including natural gas remain a major source of energy. The key hurdles to commercialization are cost, life and reliability. Despite significant advances in all areas of the technology cost and durability targets [3] have not been met. The major contribution to cost comes from tailor-made BoP components as SOFC-based systems cannot be optimised functionally with off-the shelf commercial items, and cost targets for BoP and stack cannot be met without volume manufacturing [4]. Reliability issues range from stack degradation and mechanical failure and BoP component failure to grid-interface issues in a grid-connected distributed generation system. Resolving some of these issues are a key to the commercial viability of SOFC-based micro-combined heat and power (CHP) systems. This articles discusses some of the technical and practical i.e. real life challenges facing developers of this product.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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