Research Papers

The Use of a High Temperature Wind Tunnel for MT-SOFC Testing—Part II: Use of Computational Fluid Dynamics Software in Order to Study Previous Measurements

[+] Author and Article Information
V. Lawlor1

Dept. Eco-Energy, Upper Austrian University of Applied Science, A-4600 Wels, Austria; Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering,  Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Irelandvlawlor@gmail.com

C. Hochenauer, S. Griesser, G. Zauner, G. Buchinger

Dept. Eco-Energy,  Upper Austrian University of Applied Science, A-4600 Wels, Austria

D. Meissner

Dept. Eco-Energy, Upper Austrian University of Applied Science, A-4600 Wels, Austria;  Tallinn Technical University, Ehitajate tee 5, Tallinn 19086, Estonia

A. G. Olabi

Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering,  Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland

K. Klein, S. Kuehn

 eZelleron GmbH, Collenbuschstr. 22, 01324 Dresden, Germany

S. Cordiner, A. Mariani

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica -  Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy


Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(6), 061019 (Oct 03, 2011) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004507 History: Received May 23, 2011; Revised June 23, 2011; Published September 30, 2011; Online October 03, 2011

Micro-tubular solid oxide fuel cells (MT-SOFCs) are a much smaller version of larger tubular SOFCs. They are operational within seconds and allow a higher power density per volume than the larger version. Hence they are a potential technology for automotive, auxiliary and small scale power supply devices. In this study a commercially available computational fluid dynamic (CFD) software program was used to predict a MT-SOFCs performance when located inside a high temperature wind tunnel experimental apparatus. In Part I, experimentally measured temperature profiles were recorded via thermo-graphic analyses and I/V curves. These measurements were used in this study to establish the predictability and validity of the CFD code and furthermore understand the MT-SOFC attributes measured in Part I. A maximum 4% I/V curve deviation and 6 K temperature deviation between the experimentally measured and model predicted results was observed. Thus, the model predicted the MT-SOFCs performance in the experimental environment very accurately. A very critical observation was the current density and temperature profile across the MT-SOFC that was strongly dependent on the distance from the hydrogen/fuel inlet. Not only was the model validated but also a grid and quantitative solution analysis is explicitly shown and discussed. This resulted in the optimum grid density and the indication that a normally undesirable high grid aspect ratio is acceptable for similar MT-SOFC modeling. These initial simulations and grid/solution analysis are the prerequisite before performing a further study including multiple MT-SOFCs within a stack using different fuels is also envisaged.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

(a) Photograph of the experimental apparatus with single MT-SOFC inside. (b) schematic of the experimental apparatus indicating the thermo graphic camera location.

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Figure 2

Illustration showing the components that made up the modeled MT-SOFC and environment

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Figure 3

Recorded and predicted I/V and power curve for the 25mLN /min (a) and 100mLN /min (b) fuel flow rates

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Figure 4

Photographic and thermographic images of the MT-SOFC inside a custom built high temperature wind tunnel. (a) Under the OcV/no load condition and (b): under a load of 1.4 A/cm2 condition.

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Figure 12

Contour plots based on the grids of Fig. 1 on the MT-SOFC cathode/electrolyte interface and a perpendicular plane showing static temperature contours

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Figure 13

Contour plots for the 1 M mesh-element grid with a maximum aspect ratio below ten

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Figure 5

Comparison of a simulated and thermo-graphic camera image when the MT-SOFC produced 1.4 A/cm2

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Figure 6

Contour plots showing the effect of hydrogen concentration on the current production of a MT-SOFC

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Figure 7

A detailed analyses of the flow regime, temperature, pressure and current density within the anode

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Figure 8

Two contour plots showing (a) the temperature on the cathode front (right) and back (left) and (b) the heat loss on the cathode front (right) and back (left)

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Figure 9

Image showing the MT-SOFC in cross flow where; on the MT-SOFC wall current density is displayed, on the oxidant flow channel slices the mole fraction of oxygen is shown and the stream lines show oxidant velocity

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Figure 10

A comparison of grids on the MT-SOFC where the contour plot on the cathode/electrolyte interface is showing current density contours and a perpendicular plane is showing velocity magnitude contours

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Figure 11

Contour plots based on the grids of Fig. 1 on the MT-SOFC cathode electrolyte interface showing temperature contours and a perpendicular plane showing mole fraction of oxygen contours



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