Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

System optimisation by heat management improvement

Fuel cells are electrochemical electricity generators which operate at high efficiency. Improvements in heat management can even further improve the total efficiency of these cells. This project has optimised the efficiency and simplicity of molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) systems by the introduction of a separate cooling flow and through the reduction of the heat generated in the stack. The technical feasibility of the system was evaluated.

The electrochemical reactions that occur in MCFC stacks generate heat which must be removed when the system is at steady state. In external reforming (ER) systems the stacks rely on the cathode and anode gas flows to perform this heat removal. In internal reforming (IR) stacks, on the other hand, about 60% of the cooling is attributable to the reforming reaction. This allows IR systems to be much simpler than the equivalent ER configurations. However, there is a tendency for IR stacks to suffer from a rather uneven temperature distribution. The aim of this project was to determine the stack requirements and design a system configuration to meet those parameters, using novel system concepts that enhance the cooling of the stacks of MCFC fuel cells. This was achieved using experimental work and computer modelling.

Reported by

BRITISH GAS PLC
ASHBY ROAD
LE11 3QU LOUGHBOROUGH
United Kingdom
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