Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Bio-HyPP Report Summary

Project ID: 641073

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Bio-HyPP (Biogas-fired Combined Hybrid Heat and Power Plant)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The main objective of this project is to develop a full-scale technology demonstrator of a Hybrid Power Plant with 30 kWe suitable for gaseous sustainable biomass feedstock. The aim of the demonstrator is to prove the functional capability with respect to fuel flexibility and to optimise the subsystems and subcomponents geared to each other to achieve high system efficiency. The technical objectives of this project can be specified in terms of controllable measures of electric and thermal efficiencies, operating range, operational flexibility, exhaust gas emissions and market and cost reduction potentials of the hybrid power plant.
Bio-HyPP, the Hybrid Power Plant concept, is combination of solid oxide fuel cells and a micro gas turbine. It is a technology solution for biogas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) systems addressing requirements for highly-efficient, highly load- and fuel-flexible CHP systems with lowest emissions effectively. The concept minimizes the consumption of biogas and lead to enormous savings of CO2. Thanks to the high operational flexibility it would act as enabling technology making variable renewable electricity generation more predictable and grid friendly. Demonstrators developed so far have failed to operate a significant number of hours and to deliver expected efficiency primarily due to inadequately combined subsystems. The goal of the project is to realize the Hybrid Power Plant concept as a reliable, cost-effective and fuel-flexible micro combined heat and power system.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

An analysis of the current market opportunities for the exploitation of biogas in small size CHP systems has been carried out. In parallel, a biogas assessment has been performed in order to identify three most promising feedstocks to be used for biogas production.
A new a steady state thermodynamic model of the top performance biogas hybrid power plant was developed. The model was used to set the specifications for all main components. Furthermore, the impact of pressure and heat losses of the main components and the coupling elements were analysed. Also, a new model for steady state simulation for the top economic concept has been developed. Activities have been carried out concerning the development of real-time modelling for both the top efficiency and top economic layout emulators. Moreover a mixed data-driven physics-based dynamic modelling approach for fuel cell gas turbine hybrid systems has been developed and validated.
A first evaluation of the previous existing business models has been performed and three promising business models to be analysed have been chosen as a next step. Also different methods of operating the combined heat and power plant coupled with an anaerobic digestion plant or inserted within a biogas microgrid have been taken as reference. A screening of Life Cycle Cost has been done on the manufacturing and use phases of a system composed by Bio-HyPP system components. The Objectives and Scope for LCA, LCC, and SLCA studies have been defined.
A combustion system, which meets the needs for both SOFC off-gas combustion and biogas/natural-gas-fired combustion has been developed, manufactured and extensively tested under atmospheric conditions. Expected efficiency improvement of the turbocharger has already been validated with first prototypes of the improved compressor and turbine. The development of air bearings has been started. Based on extensive thermal and rotor-dynamic models, the most suitable rotor configuration has been selected. The electrical and mechanical operating limits of the electromechanical subsystem were determined. A design decision was made to use slotted permanent magnet machine with distributed windings. A first prototype of the high-speed generator was designed.
The existing emulation facilities have been upgraded to serve further investigations on a hybrid power plant using biogas. A possible operating strategy was proposed to extend fuel cell lifetime, mitigate local temperature gradients, and improve system long-term efficiency. For the technology demonstration of the top-economic layout a test rig to measure performance of turbochargers in cold and hot conditions was built.
A communication and dissemination strategy of the project has been outlined, focusing on the key target groups. The project website has been developed and released online. The first and second issues of the newsletter have been uploaded to the project website along with two successive versions of project leaflet and poster. The Bio-HyPP Consortium has participated at several international conferences. Members of the Consortium participated in two workshops respectively in Italy and USA. A list of key stakeholders has been selected, including industrial players operating in sectors crucial to the Bio-HyPP project and a Stakeholders Group effectively created. A first online questionnaire has been set up and shared with the Stakeholders Group. The outcomes from the online questionnaire are collected and analysed. Activities have been devoted both to the planning and to the development of future exploitation strategies. In particular, the first Exploitation Strategy Seminar has been held and the preliminary list of Exploitable Results has been drawn. A procedure to be applied for any kind of protection of the Intellectual Property was outlined. All activities are supported by a robust project management structure using effective processes and tools.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Since all the tests carried out with prototypes so far were not able to reach the design performance, an important target is the achievement of 60% efficiency. The impact of biogas will contribute to the possible exploitation of such a kind of renewable fuel in power generation technology.
The direct benefits of pressurization of the fuel cells are reduced pressure drops, reduction in stack volume and increased cell performance.
An integrated control system has to be developed to ensure a reliable operation of the coupled subsystems. The possibility to develop and test the control concept on the system emulators has never been followed in previous experiences which reduce the technology risk. The combined SOFC Off-gas and micro gas turbine combustion system must be designed for high fuel flexibility, high load range as well as a large temperature range. So far, the developed concept, experimental tested under atmospheric conditions, demonstrated a wide operating range at low emission levels. Components for compressor and turbine are designed for wide operability limits for low moments of inertia, in order to guarantee good transient behavior. The design aim is to develop components for high peak efficiencies. Experimental investigation showed more than 2%-points efficiency increase of the micro gas turbine. In addition, the understanding of compressor surge with large cathodic volumes is still an unexplored field, which will impact on the whole international scientific community. Oil sleeve bearings are replaced by air bearings, significantly reducing friction losses, resulting in higher shaft levels. The high-speed generator concept with toroidal winding structure is expected to give better performance in comparison to more conventional concepts. The recuperator has been redesigned to accommodate the required low loss requirements and to reduce the manufacturing costs.

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