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A tubular solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack was modelled and its operation on biomass syn-gas was investigated. The objective of this work was to develop a computer simulation model of a biomass gasification-SOFC (BG-SOFC) system capable of predicting performance under various operating conditions and using diverse fuels. The stack was modelled using Aspen Plus and considers ohmic, activation and concentration losses. It was validated against published data for operation on natural gas. Operating parameters such as fuel and air utilisation factor Uf and Ua, current density j and steam to carbon ratio STCR were varied and found to have significant influence. The model was run on wood and miscanthus syn-gas. The results indicated 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. Also, the stack should be operated at a Ua of ~20%. Operation on biomass syn-gas was compared to natural gas operation and as expected, performance degrades. Better stack performance was observed for wood syn-gas compared to miscanthus syn-gas. High efficiencies were predicted making these systems very promising.
Doherty, W., Reynolds, A., Kennedy, D., : Simulation of a Tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Stack Operating on Biomass Syngas Using Aspen Plus. Journal of The Electrochemical Society 2010;157:B975-B981. doi:10.1149/1.3205661