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The operation and performance of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack on biomass syn-gas from a biomass gasification combined heat and power (CHP) plant is investigated. The objective of this work is to develop a model of a biomass-SOFC system capable of predicting performance under diverse operating conditions. The tubular SOFC technology is selected. The SOFC stack model, equilibrium type based on Gibbs free energy minimisation, is developed using Aspen Plus. The model performs heat and mass balances and considers ohmic, activation and concentration losses for the voltage calculation. The model is validated against data available in the literature for operation on natural gas. Operating parameters are varied; parameters such as fuel utilisation factor (Uf), current density (j) and steam to carbon ratio (STCR) have significant influence. The results indicate that there must be a trade-off between voltage, efficiency and power with respect to j and the stack should be operated at low STCR and high Uf. Operation on biomass syn-gas is compared to natural gas operation and as expected performance degrades. The realistic design operating conditions with regard to performance are identified. High efficiencies are predicted making these systems very attractive.
Doherty, W., Reynolds, A., Kennedy, D.: Computer Simulation of a Biomass Gasification-Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Power System Using Aspen Plus. Energy, 2010, Vol.35, pp.4545-4555. doi:10.1016/j.energy.2010.04.051