Direct internal reformation of methane in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) leads to two major performance and longevity challenges: thermal stresses in the cell due to large temperature gradients and coke formation on the anode. A simplified quasi-two-dimensional direct internal reformation SOFC (DIR-SOFC) dynamic model was developed for investigation of the effects of various parameters and assumptions on the temperature gradients across the cell. The model consists of 64 nodes each of which contains four control volumes: the positive electrode, electrolyte, negative electrode (PEN); interconnect; anode gas; and cathode gas. Within each node the corresponding conservation, chemical, and electrochemical reaction equations are solved. The model simulates the counterflow configuration since previous research  has shown this configuration to yield the smallest temperature differentials. Steady state simulations revealed several results where the temperature difference across the cell was considerably affected by operating and cell design parameters. Increasing the performance of the cell through modifications to the electrochemical model to simulate modern cell performance produced significant changes in the cell temperature differential. Improved cell performance led to a maximum increase in the temperature differential across the cell of 31 K. An increase in the interconnect thickness also exhibits a considerable reduction in the temperature difference across the PEN. In particular, increasing the interconnect thickness from 3.5 to 4.5 mm can achieve about a 50 K reduction in the cross cell temperature difference. Variation of other physical parameters such as the thermal conductivity of the interconnect and the rib width also showed an effect on the temperature distribution. The sensitivity of temperature distribution to the adiabatic assumption was also performed and results showed a considerable effect near the fuel and air inlets. This resulted in severe temperature gradients approaching 160 K/cm.
- Advanced Energy Systems Division
Dynamic Model for Understanding Spatial Temperature and Species Distributions in Internal-Reforming Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
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Shaffer, B, & Brouwer, J. "Dynamic Model for Understanding Spatial Temperature and Species Distributions in Internal-Reforming Solid Oxide Fuel Cells." Proceedings of the ASME 2009 7th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology. ASME 2009 7th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology. Newport Beach, California, USA. June 8–10, 2009. pp. 603-616. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/FuelCell2009-85095
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