Thermoeconomic Modeling and Parametric Study of Hybrid Solid Oxide Fuel Cell – Gas Turbine – Steam Turbine Power Plants Ranging from 1.5 MWe to 10 MWe

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Virginia Tech


Detailed thermodynamic, kinetic, geometric, and cost models are developed, implemented, and validated for the synthesis/design and operational analysis of hybrid solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) – gas turbine (GT) – steam turbine (ST) systems ranging in size from 1.5 MWe to 10 MWe. The fuel cell model used in this thesis is based on a tubular Siemens-Westinghouse-type SOFC, which is integrated with a gas turbine and a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) integrated in turn with a steam turbine cycle. The SOFC/GT subsystem is based on previous work done by Francesco Calise during his doctoral research (Calise, 2005). In that work, a HRSG is not used. Instead, the gas turbine exhaust is used by a number of heat exchangers to preheat the air and fuel entering the fuel cell and to provide energy for district heating. The current work considers instead the possible benefits of using the exhaust gases in an HRSG in order to produce steam which drives a steam turbine for additional power output.

Four different steam turbine cycles are considered in this M.S. thesis work: a single-pressure, a dual-pressure, a triple-pressure, and a triple-pressure with reheat. The models have been developed to function both at design (full load) and off-design (partial load) conditions. In addition, different solid oxide fuel cell sizes are examined to assure a proper selection of SOFC size based on efficiency or cost. The thermoeconomic analysis includes cost functions developed specifically for the different system and component sizes (capacities) analyzed. A parametric study is used to determine the most viable system/component syntheses/designs based on maximizing total system efficiency or minimizing total system life cycle cost.



hybrid fuel cell systems, Design, synthesis, thermodynamic analysis, Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), thermoeconomic analysis