398700 Thermal Energy Storage for the Mitigation of Thermal Cycling in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Monday, November 17, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Tom Grigg, Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg PA, PA

Abstract: There are two main problems inhibiting the progression of (Solid Oxide Fuel Cells) SOFC’s as a competitive residential-scale power generation option: materials cost and materials durability due to thermal cycling. This research addresses the latter through a combination of thermal modeling and experimental studies. The proposed solution incorporates a phase change material (PCM) based thermal energy storage system that is used to store thermal energy produced during regular operation, and discharge this energy to the SOFC stack to maintain its temperature while the stack output is varied (or completely shut off). Over a full academic year, the work included a comprehensive techno-economic literature review of SOFC's, testing and modeling heat transfer in thermal energy storage systems, and testing and modeling heat transfer coefficients of various insulating materials (to verify vendor specified heat transfer coefficients) using Matlab. The results show that thermal cycling of SOFC’s can be largely mitigated by the use of a phase change material (PCM) based thermal energy storage system.

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