Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - ENSOFC (Engineering of Balance of Plant for pressurised SOFC hybrid systems)

The project has been very successful despite some significant challenges caused by the restructuring of Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems Ltd (RRRFCS). The relationship between RRRFCS and the University of Genoa has continued to be very strong, largely due to the knowledge and people transferred within this project. Good technical progress was made in four of the five technical tasks and this contributed to a very successful test of a 15kWe fuel cell system at RRFCS during 2009 and 2010. The knowledge gained by the University researchers has enhanced their capabilities in the area of solid oxide fuel cells and industrial collaboration and they have started a new collaboration with several fuel cell manufacturers in a Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) project. The two partners in this project plan to further extend their collaboration through another FCH JU project submitted in October 2010.

A new website was created in 2007, hosted by the University of Genoa, with the aim of disseminating the results and opportunities offered by the Marie-Curie project. During the period of the project the researchers have contributed to a number of reports, presentations, papers and two patent applications have also been filed. High temperature recirculation devices are a critical technology in the RRFCS concept and an area in which the University of Genoa excels. Ejectors were selected as the preferred solution for both anode and cathode recycle in the SOFC system. The design of these ejectors was optimised, focussing on design studies for the RRFCS 15 kWe system test rigs. Sufficient test data was gathered on these rigs to enable models to be validated. Treatment of the fuel used in the SOFC plant is required to remove the sulphur that would otherwise poison the fuel cell, partially reform the fuel to avoid fuel cracking and steam reforming to convert the hydrocarbon fuel into hydrogen to be used in the fuel cells. All these areas have been studied during the project.

Extensive work has been performed to assess thermal cracking of higher hydrocarbons present in natural gas. System testing has been carried out mainly at the 15 kWe scale. The compatibility of the safe-gas generator and desulphuriser has been demonstrated successfully under steady-state system conditions and during system start-up and shut-down. System integration, operation and control was a primary focus of the project, using the system modelling expertise from the University of Genoa to support activities in RRFCS. A steady-state whole hybrid SOFC gas turbine model (developed outside this project) was modified to match the actual layout, functional design and performance including analysis of alternative cycle concepts. The models were used to help design a 15kWe system test and carry out analysis of the system performance.

Models were also produced to simulate the transient response of the system and this was then used as the basis for a real-time model. The dynamic response of the test rig was compared with modelling results in order to optimise the control functions on the rig. Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM) is an important issue for the end users of technology but often over-looked during the technology development phase. During this project a full analysis of the complete system architecture was completed by one the researchers. The consequences of this work were system level design changes made to enhance the reliability of the whole power plant. Analysis was also conducted on the 15kW system test rig and facility. This helped in delivering an early 1000 hour test with only one example of poor reliability.

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United Kingdom