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Title: Extended Durability Testing of an External Fuel Processor for a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC)

Abstract

Durability testing was performed on an external fuel processor (EFP) for a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plant. The EFP enables the SOFC to reach high system efficiency (electrical efficiency up to 60%) using pipeline natural gas and eliminates the need for large quantities of bottled gases. LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc. (formerly known as Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc.) (LGFCS) is developing natural gas-fired SOFC power plants for stationary power applications. These power plants will greatly benefit the public by reducing the cost of electricity while reducing the amount of gaseous emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides compared to conventional power plants. The EFP uses pipeline natural gas and air to provide all the gas streams required by the SOFC power plant; specifically those needed for start-up, normal operation, and shutdown. It includes a natural gas desulfurizer, a synthesis-gas generator and a start-gas generator. The research in this project demonstrated that the EFP could meet its performance and durability targets. The data generated helped assess the impact of long-term operation on system performance and system hardware. The research also showed the negative impact of ambient weather (both hot and cold conditions) on system operationmore » and performance.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc.
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1054160
Report Number(s):
DOE/GO88113
GO88113
DOE Contract Number:
FG36-08GO88113
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; Fuel Processor; Fuel Cells; Solid Oxide Fuel Cell; SOFC; desulfurizer

Citation Formats

Mark Perna, Anant Upadhyayula, and Mark Scotto. Extended Durability Testing of an External Fuel Processor for a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC). United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.2172/1054160.
Mark Perna, Anant Upadhyayula, & Mark Scotto. Extended Durability Testing of an External Fuel Processor for a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC). United States. doi:10.2172/1054160.
Mark Perna, Anant Upadhyayula, and Mark Scotto. Mon . "Extended Durability Testing of an External Fuel Processor for a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC)". United States. doi:10.2172/1054160. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1054160.
@article{osti_1054160,
title = {Extended Durability Testing of an External Fuel Processor for a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC)},
author = {Mark Perna and Anant Upadhyayula and Mark Scotto},
abstractNote = {Durability testing was performed on an external fuel processor (EFP) for a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plant. The EFP enables the SOFC to reach high system efficiency (electrical efficiency up to 60%) using pipeline natural gas and eliminates the need for large quantities of bottled gases. LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc. (formerly known as Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc.) (LGFCS) is developing natural gas-fired SOFC power plants for stationary power applications. These power plants will greatly benefit the public by reducing the cost of electricity while reducing the amount of gaseous emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides compared to conventional power plants. The EFP uses pipeline natural gas and air to provide all the gas streams required by the SOFC power plant; specifically those needed for start-up, normal operation, and shutdown. It includes a natural gas desulfurizer, a synthesis-gas generator and a start-gas generator. The research in this project demonstrated that the EFP could meet its performance and durability targets. The data generated helped assess the impact of long-term operation on system performance and system hardware. The research also showed the negative impact of ambient weather (both hot and cold conditions) on system operation and performance.},
doi = {10.2172/1054160},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Nov 05 00:00:00 EST 2012},
month = {Mon Nov 05 00:00:00 EST 2012}
}

Technical Report:

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  • A 250 kW External Fuel Processor was developed and tested that will supply the gases needed by a pipeline natural gas fueled, solid oxide fuel cell during all modes of operation. The fuel processor consists of three major subsystems--a desulfurizer to remove fuel sulfur to an acceptable level, a synthesis gas generator to support plant heat-up and low load fuel cell operations, and a start gas generator to supply a non-flammable, reducing gas to the fuel cell during startup and shutdown operations. The desulfurization subsystem uses a selective catalytic sulfur oxidation process that was developed for operation at elevated pressuremore » and removes the fuel sulfur to a total sulfur content of less than 80 ppbv. The synthesis gas generation subsystem uses a waterless, catalytic partial oxidation reactor to produce a hydrogen-rich mixture from the natural gas and air. An operating window was defined that allows carbon-free operation while maintaining catalyst temperatures that will ensure long-life of the reactor. The start gas subsystem generates an oxygen-free, reducing gas from the pipeline natural gas using a low-temperature combustion technique. These physically and thermally integrated subsystems comprise the 250 kW External Fuel Processor. The 250 kW External Fuel Processor was tested at the Rolls-Royce facility in North Canton, Ohio to verify process performance and for comparison with design specifications. A step wise operation of the automatic controls through the startup, normal operation and shutdown sequences allowed the control system to be tuned and verified. A fully automated system was achieved that brings the fuel processor through its startup procedure, and then await commands from the fuel cell generator module for fuel supply and shutdown. The fuel processor performance met all design specifications. The 250 kW External Fuel Processor was shipped to an American Electric Power site where it will be tested with a Rolls-Royce solid oxide fuel cell generator module.« less
  • This environmental assessment analyzes the potential impacts for conducting research, development, and testing of high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells/generators at two Westinghouse facilities in Pennsylvania. It is concluded that the proposed action is not a major Federal Action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, within the meaning of the 1969 NEPA. Therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement is not required.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory funded this research collaboration effort between NextEnergy and the University of Michigan, who successfully designed, built, and tested a reformer system, which produced highquality syngas for use in SOFC and other applications, and a novel reactor system, which allowed for facile illumination of photocatalysts. Carbon and raw biomass gasification, sulfur tolerance of non-Platinum Group Metals (PGM) based (Ni/CeZrO2) reforming catalysts, photocatalysis reactions based on TiO2, and mild pyrolysis of biomass in ionic liquids (ILs) were investigated at low and medium temperatures (primarily 450 to 850 C) in an attempt to retainmore » some structural value of the starting biomass. Despite a wide range of processes and feedstock composition, a literature survey showed that, gasifier products had narrow variation in composition, a restriction used to develop operating schemes for syngas cleanup. Three distinct reaction conditions were investigated: equilibrium, autothermal reforming of hydrocarbons, and the addition of O2 and steam to match the final (C/H/O) composition. Initial results showed rapid and significant deactivation of Ni/CeZrO2 catalysts upon introduction of thiophene, but both stable and unstable performance in the presence of sulfur were obtained. The key linkage appeared to be the hydrodesulfurization activity of the Ni reforming catalysts. For feed stoichiometries where high H2 production was thermodynamically favored, stable, albeit lower, H2 and CO production were obtained; but lower thermodynamic H2 concentrations resulted in continued catalyst deactivation and eventual poisoning. High H2 levels resulted in thiophene converting to H2S and S surface desorption, leading to stable performance; low H2 levels resulted in unconverted S and loss in H2 and CO production, as well as loss in thiophene conversion. Bimetallic catalysts did not outperform Ni-only catalysts, and small Ni particles were found to have lower activities under S-free conditions, but did show less effect of S on performance, in this study. Imidazolium-based ILs, choline chloride compounds and low-melting eutectics of metal nitrates were evaluated, and it was found that, ILs have some capacity to dissolve cellulose and show thermal stability to temperatures where pyrolysis begins, have no vapor pressure, (simplifying product recoveries), and can dissolve ionic metal salts, allowing for the potential of catalytic reactions on breakdown intermediates. Clear evidence of photoactive commercial TiO2 was obtained, but in-house synthesis of photoactive TiO2 proved difficult, as did fixed-bed gasification, primarily due to the challenge of removing the condensable products from the reaction zone quickly enough to prevent additional reaction. Further investigation into additional non-PGM catalysts and ILs is recommended as a follow-up to this work.« less
  • This report presents a summary of the work performed by LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc. during the project LG Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Model Development (DOE Award Number: DE-FE0000773) which commenced on October 1, 2009 and was completed on March 31, 2013. The aim of this project is for LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc. (formerly known as Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems (US) Inc.) (LGFCS) to develop a multi-physics solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) computer code (MPC) for performance calculations of the LGFCS fuel cell structure to support fuel cell product design and development. A summary of the initial stagesmore » of the project is provided which describes the MPC requirements that were developed and the selection of a candidate code, STAR-CCM+ (CD-adapco). This is followed by a detailed description of the subsequent work program including code enhancement and model verification and validation activities. Details of the code enhancements that were implemented to facilitate MPC SOFC simulations are provided along with a description of the models that were built using the MPC and validated against experimental data. The modeling work described in this report represents a level of calculation detail that has not been previously available within LGFCS.« less