PEM Fuel Cell

– A case Study in Hysis Platform

Vinay K Sachan & Subhasish Mitra Department of Chemical Engineering IIT Kanpur

Motivation:
Faster depletion of fossil fuels coupled with global warming issue. Hydrogen appears to be the most promising fuel which is inherently clean & green. With changing demands, distributed hydrogen economy is envisaged. Fuel cell drawing attention in various application areas e.g. micro-power, auxiliary power, transportation power, stationary power etc. as an efficient device for utilizing hydrogen potential.

Fuel Cell Principle:
First demonstrated in principle by British Scientist Sir Willliam Robert Grove in 1839. The invention was based on idea of reverse electrolysis. In general, a fuel cell consists of two electrodes Anode and Cathode. Hydrogen and Oxygen are fed into the cell. Catalyst at Anode causes hydrogen atoms to give up electrons leaving positively charged protons.

Fuel Cell Principle (Contd.):
Oxygen ions at Cathode side attract the hydrogen protons. Protons pass through electrolyte membrane. Electrons are redirected to Cathode through external circuit. This leads to production of electrical power.

Fuel Cell Working Mechanism:

Fuel Processor:

[1]

Catalyst:
ATR: PdO on Al2O3/CeO2 HTS : Fe/Cr LTS : Cu/Zn/Al PROX : Ru/Pt

[1]. Simulation study of a PEM fuel cell system with autothermal reforming, Atilla Ersoz, Hayati Olgun, Sibel Ozdogan, Energy 31 (2006), 1490 - 1500

Simulation Flow Sheet Data:

[1]

Active cell area is 400 cm2

[1]. Simulation study of a PEM fuel cell system with autothermal reforming, Atilla Ersoz, Hayati Olgun, Sibel Ozdogan, Energy 31 (2006), 1490 - 1500

Simulation Flow Sheet Data:

[1]

P1,P2,P3: Pumps, AC : Air Compressor, E : Power Turbine, HE : Heat Recovery Hx, COM : Combustor, C : Exhaust Stack

[1]. Simulation study of a PEM fuel cell system with autothermal reforming, Atilla Ersoz, Hayati Olgun, Sibel Ozdogan, Energy 31 (2006), 1490 - 1500

Modeling Strategy: Process Simulator:
Hysis Version: 2006

Thermodynamic model:
Vapor phase : Peng-Robinson EOS (suitable for hydrocarbons)

Unit operations:
ATR, HTS, LTS, Combustor : Gibbs reactor PROX, Fuel Cell Cathode : Conversion Reactor Fuel Cell Anode : Separator

Fuel Processor Plant Simulation Diagram:
CO clean up section

Heat recovery-II

Heat recovery-I Feed section

PEM Fuel Cell

Fuel Cell Cooling Unit

PEM Fuel Cell Simulation Diagram:
Cooling loop

Anode block

Cathode block

Combustor block

System Efficiency Calculations:

[1]

[1]. Simulation study of a PEM fuel cell system with autothermal reforming, Atilla Ersoz, Hayati Olgun, Sibel Ozdogan, Energy 31 (2006), 1490 - 1500

Fuel Cell Polarization Curve:

Generalized polarization curve for a fuel cell showing regions dominated by various types of losses.

The single cell polarization curve taken for calculation.

[1]. Simulation study of a PEM fuel cell system with autothermal reforming, Atilla Ersoz, Hayati Olgun, Sibel Ozdogan, Energy 31 (2006), 1490 - 1500

Fuel Cell Polarization Curve – Curve Fitting:
PEM fuel cell characteristics
y = -9E-10x 3 + 2E-05x 2 - 0.1076x + 1006.4 R2 = 0.9921 1200 1000 Cell Voltage (mV) 800 600 400 200 0 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 Current density (A/m 2)

A third order polynomial is fitted to describe cell voltage and current density relationship.

Overall System Efficiency Comparison:
•Total energy generated (PEMFC + Power Turbine) by the system is 100 Kw – claimed in the reference [1] •PEMFC power calculation as a function of H2 generated not shown. • PEMFC power (Pcell) is calculated using the following reference [2]
Pcell = Molar flow rate of H2 X LHV of H2 X electrochemical efficiency

Using this with electrochemical efficiency 0.6 Pcell : 54.21 kW , Ppower turbine : 16 kW, Total energy : 70.21 kW Global system efficiency : 0.2473
Pe : Power generated by the fuel cell system Pa : Auxiliary power consumption Molar flow rate & LHV will be for liquid fuel instead of CH4
[2]. L. Salemme, L. Menna, M. Simeone, Analysis of energy efficiency of innovative ATR based PEM fuel cell system with hydrogen membrane separation, International journal of hydrogen energy 34(2009) 6384-6392.

Section Wise System Efficiency Comparison:
No of cells Section 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1000 Ref-efficiency 0.77 0.76 0.745 0.74 0.735 0.501 0.344 Simulated - efficiency 0.768 0.8072 0.8016 0.7806 0.7687 0.5584 0.3816 No of cells Section 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 500 Ref-efficiency 0.77 0.76 0.745 0.74 0.735 0.434 0.344 Simulated - efficiency 0.768 0.8072 0.8016 0.7806 0.7687 0.5352 0.3657

No of cells Section 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

750 Ref-efficiency 0.77 0.76 0.745 0.74 0.735 0.484 0.344 Simulated - efficiency 0.768 0.8072 0.8016 0.7806 0.7687 0.5447 0.3722

No of cells Section 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1250 Ref-efficiency 0.77 0.76 0.745 0.74 0.735 0.517 0.368 Simulated - efficiency 0.768 0.8072 0.8016 0.7806 0.7687 0.5699 0.3894

System Efficiency Comparison:
Comparison of system efficiency - No of Cells 500
1 0.8 Efficiency
Efficiency

Comparison of system efficiency - No of Cells 750
1 0.8

0.6 0.4 0.2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 System section

Ref-efficiency Simulated efficiency

0.6 0.4 0.2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 System section

Ref-efficiency Simulated efficiency

Comparison of system efficiency - No of Cells 1000
1 Efficiency Efficiency 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 System section Ref-efficiency Simulated efficiency 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 1 2

Comparison of system efficiency - No of Cells 1250

Ref-efficiency Simulated efficiency

3

4

5

6

7

System section

Efficiency : Ratio of outlet & inlet heat content in a section. Section 1:Liquid fuel, Section 2: ATR, Section 3: HTS, Section 4: LTS, Section 5: PROX

System Power Consumption Comparison:
Power Consumption /Generation Source Liquid fuel (P1) Water pump (P2) Cooling loop pump (P3) Air Compr (AC) Expander (E) Power (W) (Reference) Power (W) (Simulated)

4.3 5.87 210 15430 16700

3.68 5.88 200.4 15180 16000

Stack Voltage Efficiency Comparison:
Comparison of stack voltage efficiency
Stack voltage efficiency No of cells 500 750 1000 1250 Ref-efficiency 0.542 0.605 0.626 0.646 Simulated - efficiency 0.669 0.681 0.698 0.712
Efficiency 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 0 500 1000 1500 No of cells in stack

Ref-efficiency Simulated efficiency

Higher simulated values obtained due to •Probable error in fitting voltage/current density curve •Mismatch in Fuel Cell feed flow rate. (Reference: 6 kmol/hr, Sim:8.385 kmol/hr)

Wind up:
Fairly close agreement is obtained between simulated and reference efficiencies of various section of the fuel cell system. Fairly close agreement is obtained between simulated and reference power consumptions in various sections of the fuel cell system. Stack voltage efficiency is observed to increase with number of cells in the stack. Simulated stack voltage efficiency is found to be on higher side than reference values. The obtained net electrical efficiency (7) varies in the range of 34% – 37% which is comparable with the conventional gasoline based IC engine. To make fuel cell more appealing, volume & mass of reformer system need to be compact by material & catalyst improvement .

Thanks for your attention!

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