Design and Modeling of a Novel Direct Carbon Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell with Porous Bed Electrodes
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A novel concept has been developed for the direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) based on molten carbonate recirculating electrolyte. In the cathode, co-current flow of electrolyte with entrained gases carbon dioxide and oxygen is sent in the upward direction through a porous bed grid. In the anode, co-current flow of a slurry of electrolyte entrained with carbon particles is sent in the downward direction through a porous bed grid. The gases carbon dioxide and oxygen in the cathode react on the grid surface to form carbonate ions. The carbonate ions are then transported via conduction to the anode for reaction with carbon to produce carbon dioxide for temperatures under 750 deg C. A mathematical model based on this novel DCFC concept has been developed. The model includes governing equations that describe the transport and electrochemical processes taking place in both the anode and cathode and a methodology for solving these equations. Literature correlations from multi-phase packed-bed chemical reactors were used to estimate phase hold-up and mass transfer coefficients. CO production and axial diffusion were neglected. The results demonstrated that activation and ohmic polarization were important to the cell output. The impact of concentration polarization to the cell output was comparatively small. The bed depths realized were of the order of 10cm which is not large enough to accommodate the economies of scale for a large scale plant, however thousands of smaller cells (10 m^2 area) in series could be built to scale up to a 10 MW industrial plant. Limiting current densities of the order of 1000-1500 A/m^2 were achieved for various operating conditions. Maximum power densities of 200-350 W/m^2 with current densities of 500-750 A/m^2, and cell voltages of 0.4-0.5 V have been achieved at a temperature of 700 deg C. Over temperatures ranging from 700 to 800 deg C, results from the modeled cell are comparable with results seen in the literature for direct carbon fuel cells that are similar in design and construction.
- Doctoral Dissertations 
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