High Efficiency, Thermally Integrated Bio-fuel Steam Reformer for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Navy SBIR FY2013.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2013.1
Topic No.: N131-067
Topic Title: High Efficiency, Thermally Integrated Bio-fuel Steam Reformer for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
Proposal No.: N131-067-0145
Firm: Precision Combustion, Inc.
410 Sackett Point Road
North Haven, Connecticut 06473-3106
Contact: Subir Roychoudhury
Phone: (203) 287-3700
Web Site: www.precision-combustion.com
Abstract: Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) is proposing an integrated steam reformer and solid oxide fuel cell design capable of very high efficiency and robust transient operation. By virtue of intimate physical integration, without compromising system complexity, the proposed design enables very high thermal efficiency and a readily scalable modular design, made possible by the use of PCI's high heat flux steam reformer designed to effectively remove heat from the stack. In this Phase I, we will demonstrate operation of a high efficiency reformer with bio-fuels and identify operating maps to minimize start-up and transient time, and through modeling, develop thermally integrated designs for various SOFC systems in both steady state and transient operation. Solid models with sufficient detail to predict volumetric and gravimetric power densities will also be developed. BOP components and parasitic loads will be determined. During the Option period, we will demonstrate stable reformer operation with bio-fuel for 250 hours, and experimentally examine reformer + stack operation at subscale levels. In Phase II we will develop, fabricate, and test the thermally-integrated power generator developed in Phase I on bio-fuels for 1000 hrs, and perform a TRL-5 demonstration of the technology at 10 kWe.
Benefits: The Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) proposed thermally integrated reformer system for solid oxide fuel cells promises to have high efficiency and robust transient operation. The primary market for the specific technology proposed herein will be for Navy pier-side and tactical electric power solid oxide fuel cell systems utilizing biofuel in the 10 kWe and greater range. Success in military markets will lead to cost reductions as volume increases, thus enabling penetration of commercial markets at desirable output sizes for bio-fueled solid oxide fuel cell power generators. Anticipated benefits of the system include the ability to be installed in target applications due to the small system size and lower system weight, reduced balance of plant requirements (e.g. pumps blowers etc.) due to lower pressure drop, reduced fuel consumption over current fuel cell system approaches, a flexible design allowing integration with various stack architectures and modularity and scalability features to achieve outputs above the 10 kWe target size.