Transient behaviour of solid oxide fuel cells during various stages of operation, such as warmup, startup, load fluctuations, and shutdown, must be understood and predicted in order to design an efficient controller and prevent degradation/failure of the cell. The difficulty of measuring and monitoring solid oxide fuel cell thermal features necessitates an evaluation of the solid oxide fuel cell thermal dynamics using a hybrid tool that integrates both experimental and numerical methods. In this study, a hybrid measurement tool consisting of a quasi-two-dimensional microscale model and a test rig was used to investigate the solid oxide fuel cell thermal dynamics. Through the hybrid experiment-model approach, steady-state temperature differences across Positive-Electrolyte-Negative and along fuel flow direction were captured. Additionally, the speed of temperature difference change was estimated in two dimensions, which is crucial when estimating transient thermal stresses. Several thermal measures were used to evaluate the thermal dynamics of solid oxide fuel cells. The impact of the operating voltage regime on solid oxide fuel cell thermal dynamics was studied using the varying operating voltage (Voltage Interrupted Measurement) characterisation approach. The outcomes revealed that optimising the performance of solid oxide fuel cells requires a trade-off between thermal management and fuel utilisation due to the exponential effect of fuel utilisation on steady-state temperature differences. The effects of fuel humidity and oxygen content of the oxidant flow on solid oxide fuel cell thermal dynamics were also examined. The results shed light on the new aspects of fuel cell thermal dynamics that are key in designing future smart controllers.
Bibliographical note© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Funding: Funding for the PhD RD&I Associate for K.Z was provided from Adelan Ltd., Midlands Engine and the European Regional Development Fund as part of the “Smart Energy Network Demonstrator” based at Keele University (Grant Reference 32R16P00706).
- Thermal dynamics