Research Papers

Modeling of a Methane Fuelled Direct Carbon Fuel Cell System

[+] Author and Article Information
K. Hemmes1

 Delft University of Technology, 2628 BX Delft, The NetherlandsK.Hemmes@tudelft.nl

M. Houwing, N. Woudstra

 Delft University of Technology, 2628 BX Delft, The Netherlands


Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 7(6), 061008 (Aug 20, 2010) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001016 History: Received May 26, 2009; Revised November 30, 2009; Published August 20, 2010; Online August 20, 2010

Direct Carbon Fuel Cells (DCFCs) have great thermodynamic advantages over other high temperature fuel cells such as molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) and solid oxide fuel cell. They can have 100% fuel utilization, no Nernst loss (at the anode), and the CO2 produced at the anode is not mixed with other gases and is ready for re-use or sequestration. So far only studies have been reported on cell development. In this paper we study in particular the integration of the production of clean and reactive carbon particles from methane as a fuel for the direct carbon fuel cell. In the thermal decomposition process heat is upgraded to chemical energy in the carbon and hydrogen produced. The hydrogen is seen as a product as well as the power and heat. Under the assumptions given the net system electric efficiencies are 22.9% (based on methane lower heating value, LHV) and 20.7% (higher heating value, HHV). The hydrogen production efficiencies are 65.5% (based on methane LHV) and 59.1% (HHV), which leads to total system efficiencies of 88.4% (LHV) and 79.8% (HHV). Although a pure CO2 stream is produced at the anode outlet, which is seen as a large advantage of DCFC systems, this advantage is unfortunately reduced due to the need for CO2 in the cathode air stream. Due to the applied assumed constraint that the cathode outlet stream should at least contain 4% CO2 for the proper functioning of the cathode, similar to MCFC cathodes, a major part of the pure CO2 has to be mixed with incoming air. Further optimization of the DCFC and the system is needed to obtain a larger fraction of the output streams as pure CO2 for sequestration or re-use.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Process of decomposition of fuels into hydrogen and carbon, and the subsequent use of carbon in DCFCs and hydrogen in other possible processes (1-3)

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 2

Methane fuelled DCFC system model



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