Biomass gasification integrated with a solid oxide fuel cell and Stirling engine

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Abstract

An integrated gasification solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and Stirling engine for combined heat and power application is analyzed. The target for electricity production is 120 kW. Woodchips are used as gasification feedstock to produce syngas, which is then used to feed the SOFC stacks for electricity production. Unreacted hydrocarbons remaining after the SOFC are burned in a catalytic burner, and the hot off-gases from the burner are recovered in a Stirling engine for electricity and heat production. Domestic hot water is used as a heat sink for the Stirling engine. A complete balance-of-plant is designed and suggested. Thermodynamic analysis shows that a thermal efficiency of 42.4% based on the lower heating value (LHV) can be achieved if all input parameters are selected conservatively. Different parameter studies are performed to analyze the system behavior under different conditions. The analysis shows that the decreasing number of stacks from a design viewpoint, indicating that plant efficiency decreases but power production remains nearly unchanged. Furthermore, the analysis shows that there is an optimum value for the utilization factor of the SOFC for the suggested plant design with the suggested input parameters. This optimum value is approximately 65%, which is a rather modest value for SOFC. In addition, introducing a methanator increases plant efficiency slightly. If SOFC operating temperature decreases due to new technology then plant efficiency will slightly be increased. Decreasing gasifier temperature, which cannot be controlled, causes the plant efficiency to increase also. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy
Volume77
Pages (from-to)6-18
ISSN0360-5442
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • SOFC
  • Fuel cell
  • Hybrid cycle
  • Stirling engine
  • Gasification

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