Large size biogas-fed Solid Oxide Fuel Cell power plants with carbon dioxide management: Technical and economic optimization
This article investigates the techno-economic performance of large integrated biogas Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) power plants. Both atmospheric and pressurized operation is analysed with CO2 vented or captured. The SOFC module produces a constant electrical power of 1 MWe. Sensitivity analysis and multi-objective optimization are the mathematical tools used to investigate the effects of Fuel Utilization (FU), SOFC operating temperature and pressure on the plant energy and economic performances. FU is the design variable that most affects the plant performance. Pressurized SOFC with hybridization with a gas turbine provides a notable boost in electrical efficiency. For most of the proposed plant configurations, the electrical efficiency ranges in the interval 50e62% (LHV biogas) when a trade-off of between energy and economic performances is applied based on Pareto charts obtained from multi-objective plant optimization. The hybrid SOFC is potentially able to reach an effi- ciency above 70% when FU is 90%. Carbon capture entails a penalty of more 10 percentage points in pressurized configurations mainly due to the extra energy burdens of captured CO2 pressurization and oxygen production and for the separate and different handling of the anode and cathode exhausts and power recovery from them.