Optimal Design and Operation of Micro-Power Generation Processes
This paper presents the optimal design and operation of a micro power generation process that consists of a reactor, a solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and two burners in a stack fed with ammonia and butane fuels. Hydrogen is produced from ammonia decomposition, while butane is catalytically oxidized to produce heat and maintain the stack at a sufficiently high temperature. In the first part, a novel model is developed for predicting the steady-state performance of the process. Subsequently, this model is used as a basis to study and determine the optimal design and operation of the system. The optimization problem is formulated so that the consumption rate of utilities (ammonia and butane) is minimized, while meeting a specified power demand and maintaining the stack at its thermal equilibrium. The dependence of the optimal design and operating strategy on the operating temperature and the heat losses of the system is emphasized.