Micro-tubular solid oxide fuel cells (MT-SOFCs) are a much smaller version of larger tubular SOFCs. They are operational within seconds and allow a higher power density per volume than the larger version. Hence they are a potential technology for automotive, auxiliary and small scale power supply devices. In this study a commercially available computational fluid dynamic (CFD) software program was used to predict a MT-SOFCs performance when located inside a high temperature wind tunnel experimental apparatus. In Part I, experimentally measured temperature profiles were recorded via thermo-graphic analyses and I/V curves. These measurements were used in this study to establish the predictability and validity of the CFD code and furthermore understand the MT-SOFC attributes measured in Part I. A maximum 4 I/V curve deviation and 6 K temperature deviation between the experimentally measured and model predicted results was observed. Thus, the model predicted the MT-SOFCs performance in the experimental environment very accurately. A very critical observation was the current density and temperature profile across the MT-SOFC that was strongly dependent on the distance from the hydrogen/fuel inlet. Not only was the model validated but also a grid and quantitative solution analysis is explicitly shown and discussed. This resulted in the optimum grid density and the indication that a normally undesirable high grid aspect ratio is acceptable for similar MT-SOFC modeling. These initial simulations and grid/solution analysis are the prerequisite before performing a further study including multiple MT-SOFCs within a stack using different fuels is also envisaged.
- computational fluid dynamics
- high temperature wind tunnel
- micro-tubular solid oxide fuel cell
- stack design
- thermo-graphic camera