This paper deals with the performance comparison over simulated micro-cogeneration units based on polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC or PEM), when the fuel is processed by means of two contrasting techniques. On the one hand with the use of conventional natural gas steam reforming (SR), and on the other, the adoption of an innovative palladium based membrane-reformer. After the definition of the plant layout, which reflects the results of previous studies and includes all the components of a 4 kW PEM for combined heat and power production, the comparison among the plant performances is carried out with two approaches: (i) using a in-house developed code (GS), able to calculate mass and energy balances, as well as a number of specific component parameters, already applied to a large variety of plant simulations, and (ii) using a commercial code (Aspen Plus®). The comparison allows to validate the simulated performance results as well as to evidence the advantages of the two approaches and to assess the effects of different simulation assumptions.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.