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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Study of CO2recovery in a carbonate fuel cell tri-generation plant

  • Author(s): Rinaldi, G
  • McLarty, D
  • Brouwer, J
  • Lanzini, A
  • Santarelli, M
  • et al.

© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. The possibility of separating and recovering CO2in a biogas plant that co-produces electricity, hydrogen, and heat is investigated. Exploiting the ability of a molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) to concentrate CO2in the anode exhaust stream reduces the energy consumption and complexity of CO2separation techniques that would otherwise be required to remove dilute CO2from combustion exhaust streams. Three potential CO2concentrating configurations are numerically simulated to evaluate potential CO2recovery rates: 1) anode oxidation and partial CO2recirculation, 2) integration with exhaust from an internal combustion engine, and 3) series connection of molten carbonate cathodes initially fed with internal combustion engine (ICE) exhaust. Physical models have been calibrated with data acquired from an operating MCFC tri-generating plant. Results illustrate a high compatibility between hydrogen co-production and CO2recovery with series connection of molten carbonate systems offering the best results for efficient CO2recovery. In this case the carbon capture ratio (CCR) exceeds 73% for two systems in series and 90% for 3 MCFC in series. This remarkably high carbon recovery is possible with 1.4 MWe delivered by the ICE system and 0.9 MWe and about 350 kg day-1of H2delivered by the three MCFC.

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