System and Component Analysis of a 1kW Diesel fuelled SOFC system

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Khan, Yasir
1kW diesel SOFC system , non-premixed feed , Ceramic Tail-gas burner
The first part of this thesis intends to create a fuel processor model capable of generating 1kW power as output through the use of a solid oxide fuel cell system. The fuel processor system consists of a reformer, heat exchanger network, desulphurizer and an afterburner. Modelled in VMGSimTM, inlet diesel gas is provided at the mass flow rate of 0.2596kg/hour, with the oxygen to carbon ratio calculated at 0.31 and the steam to carbon ratio arbitrarily set to be 2.25. The diesel fuel is preheated and mixed with air and steam and then fed to the auto-thermal reformer. The higher hydrocarbons are broken down and converted into hydrogen. The outlet of the reformer is fed into the SOFC where H2 is converted to generate energy which, in this case is approximately 1200W. The off gas is fed to the afterburner; where the remaining H2 is burnt and the energy is used to provide for steam generation and pre-heating through the heat exchangers. The project also focuses upon performing basic sizing calculations on components of the system. The fuel cell efficiency was found to be 62% and the system efficiency was calculated to be approximately 41%, which falls within the range given in literature. For the second part of this work, a ceramic porous tail-gas burner using a non-premixed feed of anode exhaust and air was modeled using COMSOL™. The reaction kinetics were experimentally assessed on the basis of COMSOL™ limitations and accuracy of the comparative results. Three performance metrics were evaluated in the analysis: i) velocity profile, ii) temperature profile, and iii) concentration profile. These metrics confirm the combustion reaction at the outer boundary of the porous ceramic in the burner. The spike of temperature and decrease of mass fraction of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane to approximately zero in the outlet exhaust confirms this study. This study was further validated by comparing results with the experimental data collected at NRC-IFCI. The results of COMSOL™ model agreed with the experimental results of NRC-IFCI.
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