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It is generally agreed that due to the increasing amount of renewable energy in the electricity production different energy conversion and storage technologies are needed to ensure a 100% availability of electricity.
Considering biomass as renewable source, fuel derived from landfill appears as attractive option. Landfill gas consists of carbon dioxide, methane and impurities as for example sulfur containing compounds. Combustion engines are often used to convert landfill gas into electricity and heat with the disadvantages of low efficiencies. Furthermore, most landfill gases are unattractive for combustion engines due to their low heating values.
One option to utilize landfill gases with a low heating value and to increase the electrical efficiency is the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). With SOFCs it is possible to convert hydrogen or carbon containing fuels, as for example landfill gas, directly into electricity and the side product heat in a highly efficient way.
To convert the landfill gas directly into electricity and heat in an SOFC, a reforming agent is needed to prevent carbon formation. Beside steam, it is possible to use carbon dioxide as a reforming agent (dry reforming). The advantage is that landfill gas already contains a certain amount of the needed carbon dioxide.
In the present work a planar 16 cm2 SOFC cell was operated with a real landfill gas from one of the largest Danish waste dump sites and additional carbon dioxide reforming agent at 750 ˚C, both with gas cleaning through an active carbon filter and without. The tests showed an electric efficiency up to 60%. It was found that the active carbon filter was necessary to prevent poisoning and thereby to decrease the degradation rate.