Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


Performance Evaluation of Different Configurations of Biogas-Fuelled SOFC Micro-CHP Systems for Residential Applications

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-2010


Three configurations of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP) systems are studied with a particular emphasis on the application for single-family detached dwellings. Biogas is considered to be the primary fuel for the systems studied. In each system, a different method is used for processing the biogas fuel to prevent carbon deposition over the anode of the cells used in the SOFC stack. The anode exit gas recirculation, steam reforming, and partial oxidation are the methods employed in systems I–III, respectively. The results predicted through computer simulation of these systems confirm that the net AC electrical efficiency of around 42.4%, 41.7% and 33.9% are attainable for systems I–III, respectively. Depending on the size, location and building type and design, all the systems studied are suitable to provide the domestic hot water and electric power demands for residential dwellings. The effect of the cell operating voltage at different fuel utilization ratios on the number of cells required for the SOFC stack to generate around 1 kW net AC electric power, the thermal-to-electric ratio (TER), the net AC electrical and CHP efficiencies, the biogas fuel consumption, and the excess air required for controlling the SOFC stack temperature is also studied through a detailed sensitivity analysis. The results point out that the cell design voltage is higher than the cell voltage at which the minimum number of cells is obtained for the SOFC stack.

Publication Title

International Journal of Hydrogen Energy





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