Research Papers

Studying a Hybrid System Based on Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Combined With an Air Source Heat Pump and With a Novel Heat Recovery

[+] Author and Article Information
Giulio Vialetto

Department of Management and Engineering,
University of Padova,
Stradella San Nicola, 3,
Vicenza 36100, Italy
e-mail: giulio@giuliovialetto.it

Marco Noro

Department of Management and Engineering,
University of Padova,
Stradella San Nicola, 3,
Vicenza 36100, Italy
e-mail: marco.noro@unipd.it

Masoud Rokni

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Technical University of Denmark,
Copenhagen 2800, Denmark
e-mail: mr@mek.dtu.dk

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received June 20, 2018; final manuscript received October 22, 2018; published online December 6, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Robert J. Braun.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 16(2), 021005 (Dec 06, 2018) (13 pages) Paper No: JEECS-18-1064; doi: 10.1115/1.4041864 History: Received June 20, 2018; Revised October 22, 2018

In this paper, a new heat recovery for a microcogeneration system based on solid oxide fuel cell and air source heat pump (HP) is presented with the main goal of improving efficiency on energy conversion for a residential building. The novelty of the research work is that exhaust gases after the fuel cell are first used to heat water for heating/domestic water and then mixed with the external air to feed the evaporator of the HP with the aim of increasing energy efficiency of the latter. This system configuration decreases the possibility of freezing of the evaporator as well, which is one of the drawbacks for air source HP in Nordic climates. A parametric analysis of the system is developed by performing simulations varying the external air temperature, air humidity, and fuel cell nominal power. Coefficient of performance (COP) can increase more than 100% when fuel cell electric power is close to its nominal (50 kW), and/or inlet air has a high relative humidity (RH) (close to 100%). Instead, the effect of mixing the exhausted gases with air may be negative (up to −25%) when fuel cell electric power is 20 kW and inlet air has 25% RH. Thermodynamic analysis is carried out to prove energy advantage of such a solution with respect to a traditional one, resulting to be between 39% and 44% in terms of primary energy. The results show that the performance of the air source HP increases considerably during cold season for climates with high RH and for users with high electric power demand.

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Fig. 1

(a) Representation of SOFC system [28,29] and (b) schematics of the entire system. The air adiabatic mixer to partly recover heat from the exhausted gases of the SOFC is connected after the heat recovery by state 1 (see Fig. 3).

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Fig. 2

The cell voltage (V) versus current density (A cm−2) and comparison between the model and experimental data with 97% hydrogen and 3% water vapor

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Fig. 4

Technical datasheet, relation between nominal heating power and COP and external air temperature [39]

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Fig. 3

Air mixing system: curves pointing down represent possible water condensation after the air heat exchange, respectively, in the mixer (state 31) and the evaporator (state 41)

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Fig. 5

Evaporator outlet air temperature (T4) in function of external air temperature (T2) in the two cases (air RH—SOFC nominal electric power), 25%—20 kW; 100%—50 kW

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Fig. 6

COP in function of external air temperature (T2) in the two cases (air RH—SOFC nominal electric power), 25%—20 kW; 100%—50 kW

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Fig. 7

COPvariation varying the external inlet air temperature for four different cases in terms of SOFC nominal power, air RH = 25%

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Fig. 8

COPvariation varying the external inlet air temperature for four different cases in terms of SOFC nominal power, air RH = 100%

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Fig. 9

Primary energy saving varying the external inlet air temperature for four very different cases in terms of SOFC nominal power and air relative humidity

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Fig. 10

Sensitivity of the %PES with the grid electrical efficiency (T2 = 0 °C)

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Fig. 11

Flowchart of SOFC system (the system is the same of Fig. 1)

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Fig. 12

Air mixing system (the system is the same of Fig. 3)



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