Energy balance model of a SOFC cogenerator operated with biogas
A small cogeneration system based on a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) fed on the renewable energy source biogas is presented. An existing farm biogas production site (35 m3 per day), currently equipped with a SOFC demonstration stack, is taken for reference. A process flow diagram was defined in a software package allowing to vary system operating parameters like the fuel inlet composition, reforming technology, stack temperature and stack current (or fuel conversion). For system reforming simplicity, a base case parameter set was defined as the fuel inlet of 60% CH4:40% CO2 mixed with air in a 1:1 ratio, together with 800 8C operating temperature and 80% fuel conversion. A model stack, consisting of 100 series elements of anode supported electrolyte cells of 100 cm2 each, was calculated to deliver 3.1 kWel and 5.16 kWth from an input of 1.5 N m3/h of biogas (8.95 kW LHV), corresponding to 33.8 and 57.6% electrical and thermal efficiencies (Lower Heating Values (LHVs)), respectively. The incidence on the efficiencies of the model system was examined by the variation of a number of parameters such as the CO2 content in the biogas, the amount of air addition to the biogas stream, the addition of steam to the fuel inlet, the air excess ratio l and the stack operating temperature, and the results discussed.