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Modeling a reversible solid oxide fuel cell as a storage device within AC power networks

Ren, Jiancong and Gamble, Stephen R. and Roscoe, Andrew and Irvine, John T. S. and Burt, Graeme (2012) Modeling a reversible solid oxide fuel cell as a storage device within AC power networks. Fuel cells, 12 (5). ISSN 1615-6846

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Abstract

A reversible solid oxide fuel cell (RSOFC) system, consisting of a RSOFC stack, heat store, and electrical inverters to convert DC to AC power, is shown by computer modeling to have the potential to efficiently store electrical energy. This paper describes the modeling of a single RSOFC, based on a proposed cell geometry, empirical data on the resistivities of the components, and calculation of activation and diffusion polarization resistances from electrochemical theory. Data from ac impedance spectroscopy measurements on symmetrical cells are used to model RSOFC impedance. A RSOFC stack is modeled by electrically linking the individual cells inside a pressurized vessel. A phase change heat store is added to improve energy storage efficiency. The model is implemented in MATLAB®/Simulink®. Two competing inverter control schemes are compared, trading off DC bus ripple against AC power quality. It is found that selection of appropriate DC bus capacitance is important in certain scenarios, with potential system cost implications. It is shown that the system can store electrical energy at an efficiency of 64% over a single discharge–charge cycle, i.e., hydrogen to electricity and heat to hydrogen.