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A thermodynamic analysis of tubular solid oxide fuel cell based hybrid systems

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

The goals of a research program recently completed at the University of California, Irvine were to develop analysis strategy for solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) based systems, to apply the analysis strategy to tubular SOFC hybrid systems and to identify promising hybrid configurations. A pressurized tubular SOFC combined with an intercooled-reheat gas turbine (SureCell™ cycle) is chosen as the base cycle over which improvements are sought. The humid air turbine (HAT) cycle features are incorporated to the base cycle resulting in the SOFC-HAT hybrid cycle which shows an efficiency of 69.05 percent while the base cycle has an efficiency of 66.23 percent. Exergy analysis identified the superior efficiency performance of the SOFC component. Therefore, an additional cycle variation added a second SOFC component followed by a low pressure combustor in place of the reheat combustor of the gas turbine of the SOFC-HAT hybrid. The resulting dual SOFC-HAT hybrid has a thermal efficiency of 75.98 percent. The single SOFC-HAT hybrid gives the lowest cost of electricity (3.54¢/kW-hr) while the dual SOFC-HAT hybrid has the highest cost of electricity (4.02¢ /kW-hr) among the three cycles with natural gas priced at $3/GJ. The dual SOFC-HAT hybrid plant cost is calculated to be significantly higher because the fraction of power produced by the SOFC(s) is significantly higher than that in the other cases on the basis of $1100/kw initial cost for the SOFC. The dual SOFC-HAT hybrid can only be justified in favor of the single SOFC-HAT hybrid when the price of natural gas is greater than $14/GJ or if a severe carbon tax on the order of $180/ton of CO2 is imposed while natural gas price remains at $3/GJ. Copyright © 2003 by ASME.

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