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A tubular solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack is modelled and its operation on biomass syn-gas is investigated. The objective of this work is 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 is modelled using Aspen Plus and considers ohmic, activation and concentration losses. It is 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) are varied and have significant influence. The model is run on wood and miscanthus syn-gas. 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. High efficiencies are predicted making these systems very promising.
W. Doherty, A. Reynolds, D. Kennedy. Simulation of a Tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Stack Operating on Biomass Syn-gas Using Aspen Plus. ECS Transactions 2009;25:1321-1330 (presented at: 216th ECS Meeting: Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Eleventh International Symposium (SOFC-XI), Vienna, Austria, 2009). doi:10.1149/1.3205661