The world first realization of a steam-driven anode off-gas recirculation fan was published in the Elsevier Journal of Applied Energy:
Claim your free article here until 27.03.2020!
While the global fuel utilization of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) is limited by the stack aging rate, the fuel excess is typically used in a burner, and thus limiting the system electrical efficiency. Further, natural-gas-fueled SOFCs require treated water for the steam reforming process, which increases operational cost. Here, we introduce a novel micro anode off-gas recirculation fan that is driven by a partial-admission (21%) and low-reaction (15%) steam turbine with a tip diameter of 15 mm. The 30 W turbine is propelled by pressurized steam, which is generated from the excess stack heat. The shaft runs on dynamic steam-lubricated bearings and rotates up to 175 krpm. For a global fuel utilization of 75% and a constant fuel mass flow rate, the electrical gross DC efficiency based on the lower heating value was improved from 52 % to 57 % with the anode off-gas recirculation, while the local fuel utilization decreased from 75% to 61%, which is expected to significantly increase stack lifetime. For a global fuel utilization of 85%, gross efficiencies of 66% in part load (4.5 kWe) and 61% in full load (6.3 kWe) were achieved with the anode off-gas recirculation. The results suggest that the steam-driven anode off-gas recirculation can achieve a neutral water consumption.