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Performance analysis of a co-generation system using solar energy

and SOFC technology


R.K. Akikur
a,
, R. Saidur
a,b
, H.W. Ping
a
, K.R. Ullah
a
a
UM Power Energy Dedicated Advanced Centre (UMPEDAC), Level 4, Wisma R&D UM, University of Malaya, 59990 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
b
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 11 September 2013
Accepted 16 December 2013
Available online 11 January 2014
Keywords:
Co-generation
Solar energy
Solid oxide fuel cell
Solid oxide steam electrolyzer
Hydrogen production
a b s t r a c t
Due to the increasing future energy demands and global warming, the renewable alternative energy
sources and the efcient power systems have been getting importance over the last few decades. Among
the renewable energy technologies, the solar energy coupling with fuel cell technology will be the prom-
ising possibilities for the future green energy solutions. Fuel cell cogeneration is an auspicious technology
that can potentially reduce the energy consumption and environmental impact associated with serving
building electrical and thermal demands. In this study, performance assessment of a co-generation sys-
tem is presented to deliver electrical and thermal energy using the solar energy and the reversible solid
oxide fuel cell. A mathematical model of the co-generation system is developed. To illustrate the perfor-
mance, the system is considered in three operation modes: a solar-solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) mode,
which is low solar radiation time when the solar photovoltaic (PV) and SOFC are used for electric and heat
load supply; a solar-solid oxide steam electrolyzer (SOSE) mode, which is high solar radiation time when
PV is used for power supply to the electrical load and to the steam electrolyzer to generate hydrogen (H
2
);
and a SOFC mode, which is the power and heat generation mode of reversible SOFC using the storage H
2
at night time. Also the effects of solar radiation on the system performances and the effects of tempera-
ture on RSOFC are analyzed. In this study, 100 kW electric loads are considered and analyzed for the
power and heat generation in those three modes to evaluate the performances of the system. This study
is also revealed the combined heat and power (CHP) efciency of the system. The overall system ef-
ciency achieved for the solar-SOFC mode is 23%, for the solar-SOSE mode is 20% and for the SOFC mode
is 83.6%. Besides, the only electricity generation efciency for the solar-SOFC mode is 15%, for the solar-
SOSE mode is 14% and for the SOFC mode is 44.28%. An economic analysis is presented based on the
annual electricity generation from the system and the system has shown the good economic viability
in this study with a unit cost of energy (COE) about 0.068 $/kW h.
2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
The World Bank and International Energy Agency reported that
the world will require twice installation capacity over the next
40 years for the new-electrical power to meet the anticipated de-
mands. In an another estimation the World Business Council re-
ported that for the Sustainable Development, 40% of the world
primary energy will be used for cooling, heating and providing
power. Most of this energy is from electricity which is generated
at centralized power stations; where at present up to 70% of avail-
able energy already lost. Although, the nite sources like natural
gas, coal, and unprocessed oil, are the major sources of energy
those are supplying large portion of energy on this planet, but
the increasing rate of populations and energy demands are
growing faster than the energy generation. Hence to meet the
climbing energy demands the world cannot depend only on the
limited conventional sources [1,2].
This paper presents a complete renewable based sustainable
cogeneration system to produce combined electricity and thermal
energy using hybrid solar energy and solid oxide fuel cell technol-
ogy. The importance of solar energy, solid oxide fuel cell as well as
cogeneration system is described in next subchapters.
1.1. Solar energy
The solar energy is an unlimited source of energy which is orig-
inated from the sun. When the light and heat from the sun are used
directly without changing the form, then the technology refers as a
direct or passive technology of solar energy and when it used by
converting the form of energy, that is called indirect or active
technology of solar energy. The photovoltaic technology is the
0196-8904/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enconman.2013.12.036

Corresponding author. Tel.: +60 183631302.


E-mail addresses: akik_001@yahoo.com, kaziakik@gmail.com (R.K. Akikur).
Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430
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renowned indirect way and the solar thermal system is the direct
way to harvest the abundant energy [2,3]. Approximately 60% of
total emitted energy from the sun reaches the surface of earth.
Considering 10% conversion efciency of 10%, about 0.1% of this en-
ergy can generate 3000 GW power; which is four times larger than
the worlds total generation capacity. Among the renewable
sources solar energy is the most clean and amicable for the envi-
ronment. As a consequence, it is getting more concentration to play
an important contributor in electricity generation system [4,5].
Although, the solar energy system is still more expensive than
the conventional energy system, but the solar energy system cost
reduces progressively due to the improvement of modern and reli-
able PV technologies. The solar energy cost has dropped over the
last few decades in such a way that the solar module cost was
around US$27,000/kW in 1982, US$4,000/kW in 2006 and the so-
lar-PV installation cost was approximately US$16,000/kW in
1992, US$6,000/kW in 2008. Regardless of, the acceptance of solar
energy and R&D works have been tremendously increasing
because of the worldwide supportive movements and policies
implemented by the governments [2].
In this study, the solar PV is used for water steam electrolysis
and electrical loads. The parabolic trough solar collectors (PTSC)
are used for supplying high temperature water steam to produce
hydrogen. The PTSC is chosen for this study because it is the most
established technology among the solar thermal technologies [6].
1.2. Solid oxide fuel cell
The hydrogen production by the endothermic electrochemical
reactions of water can be possible in reverse fuel cell operation.
If the required electrical and heat input could be provided by the
non-fossil fuel, CO
2
emission free sources (like, solar, wind, hydro,
biomass, and geothermal) the sustainable H
2
production by water
electrolysis would be more promising in economical and cleanli-
ness point of view [7]. The main advantage of H
2
production at
high temperature is, signicantly low electrical energy required
to electrolyze the water compared to the low temperature system.
The total energy requirements for H
2
production are less sensitive
of the operating temperature; as a consequence high temperature
fuel cell offers more opportunities to use the industrial waste heat
[8,9].
The fuel cell technologies are getting importance for global en-
ergy supplies instant of centralized power plants in a small to large
scale power generation because, it is more environmental friendly
as well as higher efcient compared to the fossil fuel based power
plant. Among the fuel cell technologies the solid oxide fuel cell
(SOFC) has been recognized as a promising clean energy technol-
ogy which produces electricity by the chemical reactions of fuel
and oxygen at higher efciency (4565%). The various range of fuel
utilization makes the SOFC more attractive. The gaseous hydrogen,
natural gas, products of coal gasication can be used as a fuel of
SOFC. It becomes possible for the high operating temperature
(6001000 C), which helps internal fuel reforming [1013]. Addi-
tionally, the SOFC produces steam at high temperature that can be
harnessed for further uses such as combined cycle or space and
domestic water heating. This hybrid operation of SOFC can raise
the overall system efciency above 80% [14,15].
The production of H
2
as well as electricity by a single solid oxide
fuel cell makes it economically sound. Some novel studies have
also been done on dual mode operations of SOFC. For example,
Nomenclature
A
ap
aperture area, m
2
A
c
area of the receiver cover, m
2
A
r
area of the receiver, m
2
C
p
specic heat, kJ/kg K
d
a
anode thickness, lm
d
c
cathode thickness, lm
D diameter, m
Eact,c activation energy for cathode, J/mol
Eact,a activation energy for anode, J/mol
F the Faraday constant, C/mol
h specic enthalpy, kJ/kg
h
c
convection heat coefcient, kW/m
2
K
h
r
radiation heat coefcient, kW/m
2
K
I current, A
J current density, A/m
2
k
c
incidence angle modier
L electrolyte thickness, lm
n electrode porosity
Nus Nusselt number
P pressure, bar
Q heat rate, kW
r average pore radius
R the universal gas constant, J/mol K
S solar radiation, W/m
2
T temperature, C or K
U
L
overall heat loss coefcient of the solar collector, kW/
m
2
K
Uo heat loss coefcient between the ambient and receiver
of the solar collector, kW/m
2
K
V voltage, V
w collector width, m
_
W power, kW
Greek letters
r StefanBoltzmann constant, kW/m
2
K
4
q density, kg/m
3
c
a
pre-exponential factor for anode exchange current den-
sity, A/m
2
c
c
pre-exponential factor for cathode exchange current
density, A/m
2
e
cv
emittance of the receiver cover
r
i
irreversibility loss
a absorbance of the receiver
g efciency
s transmittance of the glass cover
q
c
reectance of the mirror
c intercept factor
Subscripts
i inlet
Acronyms
amb ambient
HEX Heat exchanger
mp maximum power
oc open circuit voltage
PTSC parabolic trough solar collectors
ref reference
RSOFC reversible solid oxide fuel cell
SOSE solid oxide steam electrolyzer
SOFC solid oxide fuel cell
SC short circuit
416 R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430
Ni et al. [16] have presented a theoretical model of SOFC in dual
mode operations and developed successfully. Jie Guan et al. [17]
have developed a high performance reversible SOFC. They have
tested 10 RSOFC stacks over 1000 h alternating the modes. The
project was successful for producing hydrogen and electricity with
high efciency. Recently lots of studies have been done to improve
the performance of RSOFC such as Rao et al. [18] have proposed a
co-doped BaZrO3 (BZC-x) samples of a single phase air electrode
for reversible solid oxide cells and found the polarization resis-
tance promisingly lower. Nguyen et al. [19] have built a two-cell
planar stack in the Jlich F-design with solid oxide cells and dem-
onstrated the reversible operation between fuel cell and electroly-
sis modes. They have found that the mixed-conducting oxygen
electrodes LSCF were presented as good candidates for reversible
oxygen electrodes in high temperature electrolysis cells. Zhang
et al. [20] have developed a designed apparatus for testing of single
solid oxide cells in both fuel cell and electrolysis modes of opera-
tion. Laguna-Bercero et al. [21] have presented an electrochemical
performance of LSCF and LSM/YSZ composites as oxygen electrodes
for RSOFC. Both LSCF and LSM/YSZ were shown as good applicants
as reversible oxygen electrodes using Scandia stabilized zirconia
based cells. He et al. [22] have studied on a RSOFC, where the
RSOFCs with thin proton conducting electrolyte lms of BaCe0.5Z-
r0.3Y0.2O3-d were fabricated and their electro-performance was
characterized with various reacting atmospheres.
1.3. Co-generation system
Co-generation system is not a new concept which came in the
1880s from industrial plants when as a primary energy source in
industry was steam. Before 20th century, main electricity genera-
tion system was coal red boiler and steam generator based and
the exhaust steam from this system was used for industrial heating
applications. The co-generation system gained more attention just
after the oil crisis in 1973 because of the lower fuel consumption
and environment pollution. In addition, the co-generation system
can provide both electricity and thermal energy using a single
source of fuel with high efciency. The efciency of co-generation
system is over 80%, where the average efciency of a conventional
fossil fuel system is 3035%. Consequently the generation cost be-
comes lower in cogeneration system. Because of these advantages,
today many countries like Europe, USA, Canada and Japan are tak-
ing leading contribution to establish cogeneration system not only
in industrial but also residential sector. Now-a-days, it can provide
electricity and heat for small to large scale applications, such for
hospital, ofce building, hotel, and single or multifamily residential
buildings [23].
The renewable energy is doing a great contribution in a cogen-
eration system to provide green energy solution around the world.
Among the renewable energy sources the contribution of solar en-
ergy is more noticeable than the other sources. Various technolo-
gies and studies have been proposed utilizing the solar energy in
a cogeneration system. Rheinlnder and Lippke [24], Pearce [25],
Prengle et al. [26], Moustafa et al. [27], Mcdonald [28], Mittelman
et al. [29], Qiu and Hayden [30], have considered solar energy in
their study to establish the cogeneration system.
The solid oxide fuel cell has been implemented and investigated
in a cogeneration system by the many researchers not only in large
power system but also in a building integrated system over the last
few decades. For example, Zink et al. [31] have studied on a build-
ing integrated CHP system and funded the superiority of SOFC to
supply electricity and heat according to the economic and environ-
mental analysis. Naimaster and Sleiti [32] have presented a
medium level cost economical SOFC based CHP system for an ofce
building. Wakui et al. [33] carried out a study on 0.7 kW SOFC-CHP
system with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Han Xu et al. [34]
have developed a 1 kW residential CHP system considering planar
counter-ow SOFC. Lee and Strand [35] have analyzed on the mod-
eling algorithm for the simulation of SOFC cogeneration system
and parametric studies carried out to investigate the effect of each
cell parameter on system performance. Verda and Cal Quaglia [36]
have modeled a distributed power generation and cogeneration
system and investigated possible improvements of SOFC to in-
crease the plant performance. Rokni [11] presented a hybrid sys-
tem with SOFC and steam turbine where the cyclic efciency of
the system has been improved considerably higher than the
conventional system.
This study proposed and investigated a newconcept of a cogene-
ration systemfor green energy supply. The systemdiffers fromoth-
ers in such a way that the solar energy in both direct and indirect
forms is used and stored as a H
2
gas instead of battery bank for con-
tinuous power and heat supply using reversible solid oxide fuel cell
technology. This study illustrates the performance of the proposed
model considering the three modes of operation through important
output parameters. These parameters are H
2
generation efciency,
energy efciency, net electrical power, electrical to heating ratio
and the unit cost of energy. The investigation considers the effect
of changing different operating variables on these parameters. The
variables arethe solar radiation, the operatingtemperatureof RSOFC
for both modes and the H
2
utilization of SOFC.
2. System description
The proposed co-generation system comprises of PTSC, solar
photovoltaic, RSOFC and heat exchanger (HEX) as shown in
Fig. 1. The parametric values of those subsystems have been given
in Table 1 to analyze the proposed cogeneration system.
The solar energy based co-generation system or any other sys-
tem, the energy input varies with the time. At morning, after a cer-
tain period the solar radiation increases from zero to its maximum
point at noon and then decreases from maximum point to zero at
sunset. As a consequence, for a continuous operation of solar based
system, another auxiliary system is required. Nowadays hydrogen
storage system is a promising solution for a large system as a cost
effective and ecofriendly manner [8,20]. In this study, hydrogen is
produced and stored using solar energy for steam electrolysis dur-
ing the daytime to ensure the continuous power supply at night
time. The operating modes of the co-generation system consider-
ing H
2
storage, reversible SOFC and hybrid solar energy are
described next.
The operation can be described in three modes such as: solar-
SOSE mode, SOFC mode and solar-SOFC mode. The system
operation in these three modes are described below.
2.1. Solar-SOSE mode
The higher solar radiation time in the day is solar-SOSE mode.
During the time, the system operation is described below:
Water is supplied from the water storage tank to the PTSC
where it absorbs the heat energy provided by the solar
collectors.
Then the steam is heated by the HEX-1 before being fed into the
electrolyzers, when the steam gains at least 800 C then goes to
the cathode of the RSOFC or if the steam gains lower than
800 C, it goes through the heater. In this mode the RSOFC
works as an electrolyzer.
The solar PV is providing the electricity to electrolyze the steam
for producing the hydrogen and oxygen. The solar PV is also
providing the required electricity for the electric load during
this mode of operation.
R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430 417
The produced H
2
with unreacted steam and the O
2
pass through
the HEX-1 and releases heat for the steam. After that the H
2
and
the steam are condensed and go to the hydrogen storage tank
and water storage tank respectively.
2.2. SOFC mode
After the sunset, during the night time and until sunrise the
SOFC provides electricity for the load using the storage hydrogen
as a fuel. The operation of SOFC mode is shown in Fig. 2 and
described below:
The hydrogen from the hydrogen storage tank is initially heated
by the preheater then goes to the anode of SOFC.
The air (O
2
) is supplied to the cathode.
The produced electricity goes to the load and the steam passes
through the HEX-2 and releases efcient heat energy that is
absorbed by the input H
2
when drives through the HEX-2.
2.3. Solar-SOFC mode
The system operation time in a solar-SOFC mode is few hours
after the sunrise, and few hours before the sunset; the solar
energy collected by the PV modules is used for the loads supply
and by the collectors used for thermal storage. Besides, the
additional power for the load is delivered by the SOFC. The
operation of the SOFC has been described in SOFC mode. For
the heat load, PTSC can provide heat energy in this mode of
operation and the heat is stored in heat storage tank.
3. Mathematical model development
The mathematical descriptions of each subsystem of the co-
generation system are described in this section. In the present
study, some basic assumptions are employed to simplify the
analysis of the system in the followings are [35,40]:
1. The mass ow of the input fuel gas and all the reaction
products of fuel cell are stable.
2. Incoming fuel and air are uniformly distributed to each
individual cell in the stack at SOFC mode.
3. The air supplied to the cathode is composed of 21% oxygen
and 79% nitrogen.
4. The temperatures of both the anode outlet gas and cathode
outlet gas are equal to the operating temperature of the cell
stack at both SOSE and SOFC mode of operation. The current
and voltage of every cell unit are the same.
5. Pressure at the anode and the cathode of the SOFC is consid-
ered constant and equal.
6. Radiation heat transfer between gas channels and solid
structure is negligible.
7. Contact resistances are negligible.
8. Pressure change at SOFC is negligible.
9. Liquid H
2
O is fed to the PTSC in a reference environment
condition, i.e. 298.15 K and 1 atm.
10. Heat losses inside the pipe are negligible.
3.1. Parabolic trough solar collector
In order to describe a parabolic trough geometrically, the parab-
ola has to be determined, the section of the parabola that is covered
by mirrors and length of the trough. Four parameters are usually
used to characterize the formand the size of a parabolic trough col-
lector (shown in Fig. 3): trough length (L), focal length (f), aperture
width (w), i.e. the distance between one rim and the other, and
rimangle (w), i.e. the angle between the optical axis and the line be-
tween the focal point and the mirror rim. The characteristics of PTSC
used for solar collector analysis have been given in Table 1.
The mathematical analysis of the parabolic trough solar collec-
tor (PTSC) is presented in this sub-chapter [6,37].
The delivered useful power of the collector is calculated by the
following equation
_
Q
u
_ m
r
C
p
r;o
T
r;o
C
p
r;i
T
r;i
1
Fig. 1. Block diagram of the system operation in hydrogen production mode.
418 R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430
The power also can be calculated by
_
Q
u
A
ap
F
R
S
r;ar
A
r
=A
ap
U
L
T
r;i
T
0
2
where the aperture area of the collector A
ap
, the receivers absorbed
radiation S
r,ar
, the heat removal factor F
R
and the overall heat loss
co-efcient between the ambient and the receiver of the collector
U
L
can be dened by Eqs. (3)(6).
A
ap
wD
c;o
L
c
3
S
r;ar
Sg
r
4
F
R

_ m
r
C
p
r
A
r
U
L
1 exp
A
r
U
L
F
1
_ m
r
C
p
r
_ _ _ _
5
U
L

A
r
h
c;ca
h
r;ca
A
c

1
h
r;cr
_ _
1
6
g
r
q
c
csaK
c
7
In Eq. (3) w, D
c,o
and L
c
represent the collector width, the cover outer
diameter and the length respectively. In Eq. (4) g
r
is the receiver
efciency that can be presented by Eq. (7). In Eq. (5), C
p
r
and F
1
are the working uids specic heat in the receiver and collectors
efciency factor that can dened as
F
1
U
0
=U
L
8
In Eq. (6) the convention heat coefcienth
c,ca
, the radiation heat coef-
cient h
r,ca
betweenthe cover andthe ambient, andthe radiationheat
coefcient h
r,cr
between the cover and receiver are dened as
h
c;ca
Nus k
air
=D
c;o
9
h
r;ca
e
cv
rT
c
T
a
T
2
c
T
2
a
_ _ _ _
10
h
r;cr

rT
c
T
r;av
T
2
c
T
2
r;av
_ _
1=e
r
A
r
=A
c
1=e
cv
1
_
_
_
_
11
In Eq. (8), U
0
is the overall heat coefcient that can be calculated by
Eq. (12).
U
0

1
U
L

D
r;o
h
c;r;in
D
r;i

D
r;o
2k
r
lnD
r;o
=D
r;i

_ _ _ _
1
12
where h
c,r,in
is the convective heat transfer coefcient inside the re-
ceiver tube that is dened as,
h
c;r;in

Nus
r
k
r
D
r;i
13
In Eqs. (10) and (11), T
c
is the glass cover temperature, that can be
found by iterative process and the equation is explained in Ref. [6].
The amount of solar energy absorbed by the working uid cir-
culating in the receiver is calculated by
_
Q
solar
A
ap
F
R
SCol
r
14
where Col
r
is the total number of the solar collectors rows.
3.2. Solar photovoltaic
Solar cell is basically a pn junction fabricated in a thin wafer or
layer of semiconductor. Themajorityof modules usecrystallinesilicon
cells or thin-lm cells on cadmium telluride or silicon. The construc-
tional geometry of solar module has shown in Fig. 4. The electromag-
netic radiation of solar energy can be directly converted to electricity
through photovoltaic effect. The solar PV modules characteristics are
given in Table 1; those are used for solar-PV subsystems analysis.
To design an optimum solar photovoltaic module system for a
particular site, the mathematical equations are presented below
based on a stochastic method [38,41].
The total power generated by the photovoltaic array is
W
PV
V
PV
I
total
15
where I
total
can be dened as
I
total
I
Load
I
SOSE
16
where I
SOSE
is the delivered current by the photovoltaic array for
steam electrolysis.
The total current delivered by the PV can be calculated by solv-
ing the following equations
I
total
I
SC
1 C
1
exp
V DV
C
2
V
OC
_ _
1
_ _ _ _
DI 17
where I
SC
is the short circuit current of module, V
OC
is the open circuit
voltage and DV, DI are the change of voltage and current of the mod-
ule that can be determined by Eqs. (20) and (21). Furthermore, the
constants C
1
andC
2
in Eq. (17) can be calculated by Eqs. (18) and (19).
C
1
1
I
mp
I
SC
_ _
exp
V
mp
C
2
V
OC
_ _
18
C
2

V
mp
=V
OC
1
ln1 I
mp
=I
SC

19
Table 1
Values of input parameters in the present CHP model.
Parameter Value Reference
Solar thermal subsystem [37]
Stefane Boltzmann constant, r 5.67 10
8
Emittemce, e 0.87
Reectance of the mirror 0.931
Intercept factor 0.93
Transmittance of the glass cover 0.94
Absorbance of the receiver 0.94
Incidence angle modier 1
Collector width, w(m) 3.5
Collector length, L
c
(m) 20
Collector outer diameter D
c,o
(m) 0.09
Solar photovoltaic subsystem [38]
Temp. coefcient of open circuit voltage at
reference solar irradiance, (V/C)
0.248
Temp. coefcient of short-circuit current at
reference solar irradiance, (A/C)
0.0054
Reference solar radiation, S
ref
(W/m
2
) 1000
Reference temperature, T
ref
(C) 45
Ambient temperature, T
ab
(C) 25
Open-circuit voltage, V
oc
(V) 62
Short-circuit current, I
sc
(A) 5.4
Voltage at maximum power point, V
mp
(V) 50
Current at maximum power point, I
mp
(A) 5
Module rated power, P (Watt) 250
Module surface area, m
2
1.73
Solid oxide fuel cell subsystem [39]
Pressure, P (bar) 1
The pre-exponential factors of cathode, c
c
(A/m
2
) 1.344 10
10
The pre-exponential factors of anode, c
a
(A/m
2
) 2.051 10
9
The activation energy level at the cathode, E
act,c
(J/mol)
1.00 10
5
The activation energy level at the anode, E
act,a
(J/mol)
1.20 10
5
Electrode tortuosity, 1 5.0
Electrode porosity n 0.4
Average electrode pore radius, r (lm) 0.5
Constant, k (J/K) 1.38 10
23
Electrolyte thickness, L (lm) 50
The thickness of anode, d
a
(lm) 500
The thickness of cathode, d
c
(lm) 50
For model validation
Electrolyte thickness, L (lm) 1000
The thickness of anode, d
a
(lm) 100
The thickness of cathode, d
c
(lm) 100
R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430 419
In Eqs. (18) and (19), Vmp and Imp are the voltage and the current
at maximum power point.
DI a
S
S
ref
_ _
DT
S
S
ref
1
_ _
I
SC
20
DV bDT R
S
DI 21
T T
amb
0:02S 22
DT T T
ref
23
In Eqs. (20)(22), a, b are the temperature coefcients, where R
s
and
S are the series resistance and the tilt insolation respectively.
3.3. Solid oxide fuel cell
The planar SOFC with co-ow geometry as shown in Fig. 5 is
considered as the basic conguration. The typical SOFC dimensions
are given in Table 2. The working temperature of SOFC is high, so
yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) appears to be the best option of
electrolyte because of its high ionic conductivity and low cost. In
addition, YSZ is physically and chemically compatible with the
other electrode materials. Typically, the anode is made of nickel-
yttria-stabilized zirconia (Ni-YSZ) cermet and the cathode is
lanthanum strontium manganite (LSM) [42,43].
In dual mode operation, the reversible solid oxide fuel cell
(RSOFC) can operate efciently. The RSOFC can produce a com-
pletely renewable based power and hydrogen when the steam
electrolysis and the power generation are coupled. The chemical
reactions and the fundamental working process of a RSOFC in dual
mode are shown in Eqs. (24) and (25) and Fig. 6 respectively [17].
Mathematical descriptions of RSOFC in both modes are presented
below [16,44].
For water electrolysis:
H
2
O Electricity Heat !H
2
O
2
24
For power generation:
Fig. 2. Block diagram of the system operation in heat and power generation mode.
Fig. 3. Parabolic trough solar collector with geometrical parameters.
Fig. 4. The physical structure of a PV module as well as panel.
420 R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430
H
2
1=2O
2
!H
2
O Electricity Heat 25
3.3.1. Hydrogen production
In an electrolyzer mode of RSOFC, the steam is fed to the cath-
ode (porous hydrogen electrode). An electrical potential is applied
between two electrodes, when the potential is sufcient to split
the steam, the water molecules are diffused to the cathode-electro-
lyte interface and separated into hydrogen gas and oxygen ions.
The hydrogen gas is collected from the cathode and the oxygen
ions go to the anode through the solid electrolyte. The oxygen ions
are oxidized to oxygen gas and the produced oxygen is transported
through the pores of anode to the anode surface. The reactions of
water in RSOFC have been shown in Fig. 6.
The total energy demand (DH) for RSOFC in SOSE mode can be
calculated by the following equation
DH DG TDS 26
where TDS is the thermal energy of H2 in J/mol and D G is the elec-
trical energy demand (free Gibson energy change). Fig. 7 shows that
the electrical energy demand decreases with increasing of thermal
energy but the total demands do not change signicantly.
The total electrical energy for the RSOFC in hydrogen produc-
tion mode is dened by
_
W
SOSE
V
SOSE
J
SOSE
27
where V
SOSE
is the output potential of RSOFC and J
SOSE
is the current
density, which is provided by the other source; in this study solar
photovoltaic has been selected.
In hydrogen production mode, the output potential V
SOSE
is the
summation of Nernst potential (E), concentration over potentials at
cathode and anode g
SOSE
conc;i
_ _
, ohmic over potential (g
ohmic
), and
activation over potentials at anode and cathode (g
act,i
).
V
SOSE
E g
SOSE
conc;i
g
ohmic
g
act;i
28
i a; c
The Nernst potential can be determined by the Nernst equation.
That can be written as
E E
0

RT
2F
ln
P
0
H
2
P
0
O
2
_ _
1=2
P
0
H
2
O
_

_
_

_ 29
where E
0
is the standard potential which is calculated by Eq. (30), R
is the universal gas constant (8.3145 J/mol K), T is the operating
temperature of the fuel cell in Kelvins, F is the Faraday constant
(94685.0 C/mol), and P
0
H
2
; P
0
H
2
O
and P
0
O
2
are the partial pressure of
hydrogen, water and oxygen on the electrode surfaces respectively.
The details calculation of the partial pressures of SOFC can be found
elsewhere in Ref. [45].
E
0
1:253 2:4516 10
4
T 30
The ohmic over potential is related with the current density, the
electrolyte thickness L, and the operating temperature T as the fol-
lowing equation
g
ohmic
JLu 31
u 2:99 10
5
exp
103; 00
T
_ _
32
The activation over potentials can be determined by the ButlerVol-
mer equation.
g
act;i

RT
F
sinh
1
J
2J
o;i
_ _
33
i a; c
J
0;i
c
i
exp
E
act;i
RT
_ _
34
The concentration overpotential at anode can be determined by
g
SOSE
conc;a

RT
4F
ln

P
0
O
2
_ _
2
JRTld
a
=2FB
g
_ _
_
P
0
O
2
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
35
where l is the dynamic viscosity of oxygen. The ow permeability
B
g
can be expressed by the KozenyCarman relationship as [46],
B
g

e
3
72n1 e
2
2r
2
36
The concentration overpotential of the hydrogen electrode or
cathode can be determined by
g
SOSE
conc;c

RT
2F
ln
1 JRTd
c
=2FD
eff
H
2
O
P
0
H
2
1 JRTd
c
=2FD
eff
H
2
O
P
0
H
2
O
_ _
37
In Eq. (37) D
eff
H
2
O
is the effective diffusion coefcient of steam in
porous SOSE electrode, which can be calculated by the molecular
diffusion and the Knudsen diffusion mechanisms using the
Bosanquet formula [47,48] as following
1
D
eff
H
2
O

n
n
1
D
H
2
H
2
O

1
D
H
2
O;k
_ _
38
where n/n is the ratio of cathode tortuosity to porosity, n/(nD
H
2
H
2
O

is the reciprocal of effective molecular diffusion coefcient for a


H
2
OH
2
binary system, and n/(nD
H
2
O;k
is the reciprocal of effective
Knudsen diffusion coefcient for steam; those calculations can be
found in references [47,48].
The outlet ow of H
2
and O
2
can be calculated by
Fig. 5. Geometrical view of a typical SOFC; (a) Three-dimensional drawing of a
single-cell planar SOFC and (b) Conguration of unit cell planar SOFC.
Table 2
Typical solid oxide fuel cell dimensions [42].
Element Size (mm)
W
ch
Channel width 2
l
ch
Channel height 2
l
int
Interconnect height 3
W
rib
Rib width 0.5
W Unit cell width 3
W
t
Cell width 15
L Cell length 15
t
a
Air electrode thickness 50 10
3
t
f
Fuel electrode thickness 50 10
3
t
e
Electrolyte thickness 180 10
3
R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430 421
_
N
H
2
;out

J
2F

_
N
H
2
O;utilized
39
_
N
O
2
;out

J
4F
40
The inlet steam ow rate of RSOFC is a known parameter, hence the
outlet ow rate of H
2
O can be determined by
_
N
H
2
O;out

_
N
H
2
O;in

J
2F
41
3.3.2. Power generation
The fundamental operations of RSOFC in power generation
mode are shown in Fig. 6. In power generation mode as the input
hydrogen and oxygen (air) are fed to the porous anode and cath-
ode of RSOFC respectively. The oxygen in cathode diffuses
through the electrode and goes to the electrode interface, where
it is transformed into oxygen ions electro-chemically after react-
ing with the electrons that comes through the external circuit.
Then the oxygen ion passes through the densed ion conducting
electrolyte to the anode. In anode, the hydrogen atoms diffuse
through the porous anode where they react with the coming oxy-
gen ions and produce the steam with free electrons. These elec-
trons go to the anode through an external circuit resulting in
electrical power [44].
So the output power in power generation mode can be ex-
pressed as
_
W
SOFC
V
SOFC
J
SOFC
42
Where J
SOFC
is the produced current density which is related to the
amount of the utilized hydrogen can be shown by
J
SOFC
2
_
N
H
2
;utilized
F 43
The fuel utilization ratio, air utilization ratio and excess air
coefcient can be calculated by Eqs. (44)(46) [49]
U
f

_
N
H
2
;utilized
_
N
H
2
;inlet
44
U
a

_
N
O
2
;utilized
_
N
O
2
;inlet
45
k
air

2
_
N
O
2
;inlet
_
N
H
2
;inlet
46
where the oxygen utilization is the half of hydrogen utilization
_
N
O
2
;utilized

_
N
H
2
;utilized
=2
The output voltage of a fuel cell depends on the polarization
losses as following
V
SOFC
E g
SOFC
conc;i
g
ohmic
g
act;i
47
where the Nernst Equation (E), the ohmic over potential (g
ohmic
), the
activation over potentials at the anode and cathode (g
act,i
) can be
calculated by the same equations (Eqs. (29), (31), (33)), those are
used for hydrogen production mode.
The concentration overpotential modeling equations in SOFC
mode were developed by Chan and Xia [50] and also studied by
Ni et al. [44]
g
SOFC
conc;a

RT
2F
ln
1 RT=2F Jd
a
=D
eff
H
2
P
0
H
2
_ _
1 RT=2F Jd
a
=D
eff
H
2
P
0
H
2
O
_ _
_
_
_
_
48
g
SOFC
conc;c

RT
4F
ln
p
0
=d
O
2
p
0
=d
O
2
_ _
P
0
O
2
_ _
exp RT=4F Jd
O
2
d
c
=D
eff
O
2
p
0
_ _ _ _
P
0
O
2
_
_
_
_
49
d
O
2

D
eff
O
2
;k
D
eff
O
2
;k
D
eff
O
2
N
2
50
Similar as D
eff
H
2
O
(Eq. (38)), the effective hydrogen diffusion coef-
cient D
eff
H
2
, the effective oxygen diffusion coefcient D
eff
O
2
, the effective
Knudsen diffusion coefcient of oxygen D
eff
O
2
;k
, and the effective oxy-
gennitrogen binary diffusion coefcient D
eff
O
2
N
2
can be calculated.
3.3.3. Heat supply and generation
3.3.3.1. Heat input. The heat energy supplied to the electrolyzer for
steam electrolysis depends on the heat generation by the irrevers-
ibility losses [39]. The overpotentials of SOSE involve directly for
generating the heat as the following equation
r
i
2F g
SOSE
conc;i
g
ohmic
g
act;i
_ _
51
When r
i
PTDS, the external heat is not needed for the water split-
ting reaction, thus Q
heat,SOSE
= 0.
If r
i
< TDS, the external heat is needed and the heat energy
input can be determined by
Q
heat;SOSE
TDS r
i

_
N
H
2
O;utilized
52
Fig. 6. The fundamental working principle of ROSFC.
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
400 600 800 1000 1200 1400
E
n
e
r
g
y

d
e
m
a
n
d

(
k
J
/
m
o
l

H
2
)
Temperature (K)
Electrical Energy
Tharmal Energy
Total energy
Fig. 7. The energy demands for H
2
production with varying temperatures [39].
422 R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430
The required heat input for the steam electrolysis is stabilized at
constant temperature by the heater. The steam from the PTSC varies
with the solar radiation, as a consequence to heat up the steam at
desired temperature the heat exchanger-1 and the heater are used.
The amount of heat energy provided by the PTSC is determined
by Eq. (2) using the concept of absorbed radiation and the uid exit
temperature can be determined by
_
Q
u
_ mC
p
T
0
T
i
53
3.3.3.2. Heat output. From the Steady Flow Energy Equation the en-
ergy is balanced by the following equation [51].
Q
in
W
in
Q
out
W
out
DH 54
Or
Q
out
Q
in
DG DH
fc
DH
ref
55
where DG and DH
ref
are the Gibbs energy and the enthalpy of fuel
cell reaction [51].
The total heat output andthe heat gainare reducedby heat losses
fromthe external preheater, fuel cell stack and losses up to the heat
exchanger. The usable heat output and heat gainare further reduced
by the effectiveness of the heat exchanger. Net usable heat gainfrom
complete fuel cell system at SOFC mode can be evaluated by
subtracting the heat output of heat exchanger and the external
preheating heat input; that can be expressed by Eq. (56).
Q
usable;net
Q
fc;net
Q
H
2cr
Q
loss
e
hcx
Q
ep
56
where Q
fc,net
, Q
H
2cr
and Q
ep
are the net heat gain within fuel cell
stack, the heat from combustion of recirculated hydrogen and the
external preheating heat input, those can be evaluated by Eqs.
(57)(59). And e
hcx
is the heat exchanger effectiveness, Q
loss
is the
heat losses by the surrounding. If the system is well isolated then
Q
loss
= 0
Net heat gain within fuel cell stack can be explained by
Q
fc;net
Q
fcr
Q
rvl
Q
arr
57
where Q
fcr
, Q
rvl
and Q
arr
are the heat generated from fuel cell reac-
tion, the heat recovery from voltage losses and the heat absorbed
by reforming reaction respectively. Those can be calculated by Eq.
(60) [52], (61) and for the hydrogen as an input fuel no reformation
is needed, thus for this study Q
arr
= 0.
When unutilized fuel is recirculated and burned to preheat
internally, the heat from combustion of recirculated hydrogen is,
Q
H
2cr

_
N
H
2
1 U
f
DH
fr
58
Here
_
N
H
2
is the mass ow of H
2
and D H
fr
is the heat required by the
reforming process from the enthalpy of reaction.
Q
ep

_
N
H
2
C
p11
T
11
C
p10
T
10
59
In Eq. (59) C
p11
and C
p10
are the specic heat of H
2
at the state of 11
and 10 in Fig. 1.
Q
fcr

_
N
H
2
U
f
DG DH
fr
60
Q
rvl

_
N
H
2
U
f
e
rvl
1 g
v
DG 61
In Eq. (61) e
rvl
and g
v
are the effectiveness of heat recovery from
voltage losses and the voltage efciency.
3.3.3.3. Heat transfer. The heat can be transferred in SOFC in three
process; convection, radiation and conduction [53]. In this model
for a planar SOFC, the radiation heat transfer is assumed negligible.
Convection is a process of heat transfer that occurs between a sur-
face and a liquid or gas that can ow freely due to a temperature
gradient. According to the Newtons law of cooling, the interaction
between the phases through convection heat transfer can be deter-
mined as,
_
Q
conv
hA
i
DT 62
where A is the surface area across which heat is transferred, DT is
the temperature difference over which heat is transferred and h is
the heat transfer co-efcient that can be determined using the Nus-
selt number with local properties equation as following
h
k
D
h
Nu 63
The thermal conductivity of the gas (k) can be evaluated by the fol-
lowing approximation:
k

X
i
k
j
T
out
64
Conduction is a process of heat transfer that occurs by atomic mo-
tion due to a temperature gradient. The conduction heat transfer is
governed by Fouriers Law that can be expressed as below
_
Q
cond
kA
DT
L
65
where A is the surface area across which heat is transferred and L is
the length over which heat is transferred.
3.3.4. Efciency calculation
The efciency of SOSE is determined by
g
SOSE

LHV
H
2
_
N
H
2
;out
_
W
SOSE
Q
heat;SOSE
Q
heat;H
2
O
66
The efciency of PTSC can be dened as
g
PTSC
F
R
g
0
U
L
T
i
T
a
G
B
C
_ _ _ _
67
where C is the concentration ratio and C
Aa
Ar
.
The maximum efciency of solar-PV can be evaluated by
g
PV
max

P
m
S A
c
68
where P
m
is the maximum power output from PV and A
c
is the area
of collector.
The efciency of a system can be founded by
g
sys

Useful energy
Energy in
69
The useful energy at solar-SOSE mode is, the power delivered by so-
lar-PV for the electric load and the amount of H
2
production by
SOSE. Whereas, the energy input is the total sun energy on the sur-
face area of PV and PTSC. On the other hand at initial operation con-
dition the power for heater to worm the steam at required
temperature is considered as an energy input. So Eq. (69) can be ex-
pressed as following to calculate the system efciency at solar-SOSE
mode.
g
solarSOSE
sys

W
PV
out;load

_
N
H
2
;out
LHV
H
2
W
PV
input
P
PTSC
input
Q
heat;SOSE
70
The electrical efciency of the SOFC in fuel cell mode is calculated
by
g
SOFC
el

W
SOFC;net
_
N
H
2
;inlet
LHV
H
2
71
where the net electric power from the SOFC operation is
W
SOFC;net

_
W
SOFC
W
blower
72
The heat efciency of SOFC denes as
R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430 423
g
SOFC
heat

Q
usable;net
H
2;consumption
LHV
H
2
73
The combined overall efciency or system efciency of SOFC is,
g
SOFC
Overall
g
SOFC
el
g
SOFC
heat
74
The overall efciency at solar-SOFC mode is,
g
solarSOFC
sys

W
PV
out;load
W
SOFC
el
W
SOFC
heat
Q
water
heat
W
PV
input
P
PTSC
input

_
N
H
2
;inlet
LHV
H
2
75
3.4. Heat exchanger
In this study, counter ow heat exchangers are used to extract
the heat energy from the hot uids [54]. According to the ranges
of temperature, three types of heat exchanger are available, those
are categories as low temperature (stainless steel heat exchanger;
T < 600 C), medium temperature (nickel based heat exchanger;
650 C < T < 850 C) and high temperature (ceramic based heat ex-
changer; T > 850 C) [55]. Fig. 8 shows the counter ow tube heat
exchanger with the inner diameter (D
i
) of 25 mm and the outer
diameter (D
o
) of 45 mm respectively.
The heat exchanger performance evaluates by the effective
number of transfer units (e-NTU) method. The actual heat ex-
change rate (Q) between two uid steams can be evaluated by
Q e
eff
Q
max
76
where e
eff
is the effectiveness factor that is mainly depends on the
average heat transfer rate and the heat transfer area. And Q
max
is
the theoretical maximum heat exchange rate between the two uid
streams that can be determined according to the specic heat
capacity of the two uid streams.
For counter ow heat exchangers, the effectiveness is related to
the number of transfer units.
(NTU) and capacitance ratio through the following equation:
e
eff

1 expNTU1 C
r

1 C
r
expNTU1 C
r

77
Here, C
r
is the capacitance heat ratio that can be calculated by
C
r

C
min
C
max
78
In Eq. (78) C
min
andC
max
are the minimumandmaximumheat capac-
itance rates that can be determined from the heat capacity rates of
cold and hot gas steams; those are presented in Eqs. (79) and (80).
C
c

_
N
c
c
p;c
79
C
h

_
N
h
c
p;h
80
In Eq. (76) the theoretical maximum heat transfer rate Q
max
is
dened as
Q
max
C
min
T
h;i
T
c;i
81
Based on the energy balance, the output steams temperature of the
heat exchanger can be calculated by
T
h;o
T
h;i

Q
C
h
82
T
c;o
T
c;i

Q
C
c
83
3.5. System cost analysis
The economic analysis of the system has been carried out in this
study focusing on the estimation of unit cost of the produced en-
ergy ($/kW h). The annual total cost can be calculated by the
sum of investment, operation and maintenance cost [56].
C
at
C
ai
C
o&m
84
The annual investment cost C
ai
can be calculated from the total pur-
chasing cost C
pc
disregarding the individual component replace-
ment cost during its lifespan n:
C
ai
C
pc
CRF 85
where CRF (capital recovery factor) can be determined,
CRF
i1 i
n
1 i
n
1
86
where i is the annual interest rate (%).
The unit cost of energy C
u
($/kW h) can be evaluated by
C
u

C
at
E
ec
87
where E
ec
is the annual net usable electrical energy from the system,
which is the sum of electrical energy provided by the solar-PV and
the fuel cell.
4. Model validations
The solar-PV subsystem is validated by comparing the analyti-
cal results with the manufactures data given in Table 1 [38]. The
maximum power, the short circuit current and the open circuit
voltage of the module are 250 W, 5.4 A, 62 V respectively at
1000 W/m
2
of solar radiation according to the manufactures data
[38]. In this study, the IV characteristics of solar-PV at 1000 W/
m
2
of solar radiation in Fig. 9, shows a good agreement with the
manufacturers datasheet.
The PTSC subsystem is validated by the experimental study of
Dudley et al. [57]. The design data for the black chrome receiver
material case for a vacuum space between the receiver and its cov-
er from Dudley et al. have considered to examine the PTSC model.
The model has shown a good agreement with the experimental re-
sult (shown in Fig. 10). The difference in the calculations as com-
pared to the experimental results is attributed to the
approximation used to calculate the heat loss coefcients.
The fuel cell subsystem for hydrogen production is validated by
the experimental work of Momma et al. [58]. They have clearly sta-
ted the laboratory setup and test procedures in literature and the
details can support the analytical analysis. The experimental work
was considered electrolyte supported planar SOSE. The materials
and the thickness for electrolyte, cathode, anode were yttria stabi-
lized zirconia (YSZ), nickel-YSZ, strontium doped lanthanum (LSM-
YSZ) and 1000, 100, 100 lm respectively. The tests were conducted
at a constant pressure of 1 bar, steam molar fraction of 60%, and
various operating temperature from 1173 to 1273 K. In this study,
the parametric values in Table 1 and the equations for electrolyzer Fig. 8. Counter ow heat exchanger.
424 R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430
mode has been considered and calculated the overpotentials of the
fuel cell. The theoretically calculated overpotentials have been
compared with the experimental result in Fig. 11. The Figure shows
a good agreement with the experimental work. The model for the
SOFC mode developed by Chan and co-workers [50,59] is well ac-
cepted (Eqs. (48)(50)); therefore, no validation is needed farther.
5. Result and discussion
In this section and sub section parametric, energy and economic
analysis are conducted according to the operation mode of CHP
system. The effects of solar radiation on the model for hydrogen
production, electric power as well as heat generation are analyzed.
The dual mode performance of RSOFC and the effects of parametric
changes are also presented.
5.1. Parametric analysis of the system
In this study 250 W solar modules are considered for the system
analysis. The electricity generated from solar PV is utilized for the
electric load supply and the steam electrolysis during the higher
solar radiation time. The power delivered by solar-PV varies with
solar radiations intensity. The effects of solar radiation on power
generation of solar-PV are shown in Fig. 12 that have been calcu-
lated by using the equations in solar subsection and taking the data
from Table 1. The variations of solar radiation have also effect on
the thermal energy generation by the PTSC, which can be evaluated
by solving Eq. (2). As a result, the existing uid temperature inside
the PTSCs tube changes with the radiation, shown in Fig. 13.
According to the literature, cathode supported RSOFC is recom-
mended for higher electricity generation, on the other hand, anode
supported RSOFC is for higher hydrogen production [16]. The an-
ode supported RSOFC has been selected where the H
2
O ow rate
of 0.05 mol/s for 1 m
2
of active area to gure out the temperature
effects. For hydrogen production from steam electrolysis, temper-
ature is one of the key parameters. The temperature effects on a
single cell have been investigated taking the parametric value of
RSOFC in Table 1 into consideration. The cell potential of SOSE is
the summation of the overpotentials, which rises with increasing
of temperature as shown in Fig. 14. It is because, the ohmic and
the activation overpotentials signicantly increase with increasing
temperature, although the concentration overpotential increases
but its effect is lower compared to the other overpotentials.
In order to calculate the heat requirement, it is necessary to
know the heat generation by the SOSE cell through irreversibility
(r
i
). After solving Eq. (52) it has been found that the heat generated
by irreversibility varies with the operating temperature. For exam-
ple, Fig. 15 shows at low operating temperature (873 K) the addi-
tional heat requirement is not needed above the current density
of 500 A/m
2
but for the higher operating temperature (1273 K)
additional heat is needed for SOSE up to current density of
17,000 A/m
2
.
During the night time (from few hours before the sun set to few
hours after the sun rise) the RSOFC works as a SOFC mode where
H
2
and O
2
are supplied as input. The rate of O
2
utilization is related
with the H
2
, by the equation
_
N
O
2
;utilized

_
N
H
2
;utilized
=2. Fig. 16 shows
the fuel cell output voltage and the useful electric power changes
with the variation of H
2
ow rate at different temperature. The
temperature changes, instantaneously reected on the cells poten-
tial as well as the power, because the current density, J (A/m
2
) is
limited by the cells operating temperature. The cell potential de-
creases more rapidly at low temperature than the high tempera-
ture because both the activation and the ohmic overpotential
increase with increasing of temperature due to the higher reaction
rate. On the other hand, if the temperature rises, polarization may
increase due to material constraints. The cell can provide more
power at high temperature than the low operating temperature.
The electrical efciency of SOFC has been calculated by solving
Eq. (71). Fig. 17 shows the effects of current density variation on
electrical efciency at different temperature; where, the small
change of current density the signicant changes of electrical ef-
ciency at low temperature is occurred.
5.2. Performance analysis of the system
The performance of the co-generation system is analyzed con-
sidering 100 kW electric loads and evaluated the amount of heat
energy generated by the fuel cell at SOFC mode. The required
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
C
u
r
r
e
n
t

(
A
)
P
o
w
e
r

(
W
)
Voltage (V)
1000 W/m
2
I
SC
= 5.4 A
MPP( 50V, 5A)
V
OC
= 62V
Fig. 9. Validation of the solar-PV module by comparison of the manufacturers data.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
100 150 200 250 300
H
e
a
t

L
o
s
s

(
W
/
m
2
)
Average temperature above ambient (
0
C)
Experiment
Present Model
Fig. 10. Validation of the solar collectors model.
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000
C
e
l
l

p
o
t
e
n
t
i
a
l
,

V

(
V
)
Current density, J (A/m
2
)
T=1173 K
T=1223 K
T=1273 K
T=1273 K
T=1223 K
T=1173 K
Experiment [58]
Present model
Fig. 11. Comparison between analytical results and experimental data for model
validation-effect of operating temperature and current density on RSOFC potential
in SOSE mode.
R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430 425
amount of heat and electricity for H
2
production at SOSE mode has
been calculated. The considerations and the ndings in three
modes of operation are shown in Tables 6 and 7 respectively. The
detail operation conditions like temperature, enthalpy and entropy
of each state of the system based on the operation modes are given
in Tables 35 which are considered on systems operation time.
The RSOFC is considered with the cell area of 0.1 m
2
and the
thickness of 2.3 mm. The operating voltage of stack is 48 V and
the current density of a single cell is 2500 A/m
2
. As a consequence
the total required number of cells in series and parallel are 66 and
88 respectively in order to analyze the 100 kW electric load supply.
At constant pressure of 1 bar and 900 C operating temperature
with 80% fuel utilization, the system needs hydrogen ow rate of
0.0024 kg/s and oxygen ow rate of 0.0193 kg/s to meet the electri-
cal demands. The amount of H
2
O production rate from the chemi-
cal reaction of H
2
and O
2
is 0.0172 kg/s. The heat energy for H
2
preheating is taken from the heat delivered by the SOFC. For
0.0024 kg/s of H
2
ow rate, 25.8 kW of heat energy is needed to
gain the temperature at 1000 K. The heat efciency has been calcu-
lated considering the heat for H
2
preheating as a loss. As a result,
the heat to power ratio has been reduced and found of 0.917.
The system efciencies are conducted in SOFC mode using the ef-
ciency equations and the systems heat, electrical and overall ef-
ciencies are found 39.32%, 44.28% and 83.60% respectively. The
heat generation efciency of the SOFC is relatively more affected
by the cell operating temperature compared to the electricity gen-
eration efciency. The heat generation efciency decreases with
increasing of temperature, it is because the heat generation from
the fuel cell reaction decreases substantially with increasing of
temperature. Consequently the heat to power ratio and the overall
efciency of the system are decreased (shown in Fig. 18). Fig. 19
shows the fuel utilization effects on the systems electrical, heat,
and CHP efciency at 1173 K operating temperature, where the
electrical efciency of the system increases with the increasing fuel
utilization. On the other hand the heat efciency decreases and the
decreasing rate is more substantial than the increasing electrical
efciency, as a result the CHP efciency is decreased with the
increasing fuel utilization.
In solar-SOSE mode, to produce the same amount of H
2
that is
used in SOFC mode (0.00241 kg/s), the required electrical and heat
energy demands have been calculated; those are 148.1 kW and
51.5 kW respectively (given in Table 7). To produce 0.00241 kg/s
H
2
the system needs 0.026 kg/s H
2
O steams as an input at 900 C
operating temperature. The required electricity to electrolyze the
steam is provided by the photovoltaic. The solar-PV has been de-
signed according to the power requirement for the steam electrol-
ysis and the electric loads. Using the value of parameters in Table 1
for solar subsection, it is found that total 306 kW of PV module is
needed for 100 kW of electrical loads and for 0.00241 kg/s of H
2
production. The efciencies of PV, PTSC and electrolyzer have been
determined of 14%, 60% and 85.1% correspondingly. The electrical
and the thermal energy provided by the PV and the PTSC are di-
rectly related with the solar radiation, therefore with the changes
of solar radiation the rate of H
2
production and the rate of H
2
O
reaction are changed (shown in Fig. 20). The temperature gain of
water from PTSC also depends on the ow rate of water inside
the tubes, tubes length, diameter and width. The heat energy of
H
2
O for H
2
production is initially provided by the PTSC after that
the steam gains more thermal energy from the HEX-1, where the
electrolyzers outlet products (H
2
, H
2
O, and O
2
) release the heat
0
50
100
150
200
250
0.0
1.0
2.0
3.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
P
o
w
e
r

(
W
)
C
u
r
r
e
n
t

(
A
)
Voltage (V)
900 W/m
2
700 W/m
2
500 W/m
2
Fig. 12. The variations of voltage, current and power of PV with solar radiations.
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
0 200 400 600 800 1000
E
x
i
s
t
i
n
g

f
l
u
i
d

t
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e
,

(
0
C
)
T
h
e

u
s
e
f
u
l

p
o
w
e
r

f
r
o
m

t
h
e

c
o
l
l
e
c
t
o
r
,

(
k
W
)
Solar radiation, (W/m
2
)
Power
Temperature
Fig. 13. The variations of the useful power delivered by the PTSC and the existing
uid temperature gain with the changes of solar radiation.
0.00
0.50
1.00
1.50
2.00
2.50
3.00
3.50
4.00
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
C
e
l
l

p
o
t
e
n
t
i
a
l
,

V

(
V
)
Current density, J (A/m
2
)
873 K
1073 K
1273 K
Operating Temperature
Fig. 14. The effects of current density variation on cell potential at different
operating temperature at electrolyzer mode of operation.
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000
T
h
e
r
m
a
l

e
n
e
g
y

(
k
J
/
m
o
l

H
2
)
Current density, J (A/m
2
)
T S at 1273 K
2F total at 1273 K
T S at 873 K
2F total at 873 K

Fig. 15. Comparison of the thermal energy demand and the heat generation caused
by irreversible losses at different operating temperature with the variation of
current density.
426 R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430
energy. The heat exchangers have been designed by solving Eqs.
(76)(83) with 25 mm of inner tube diameter and 45 mm of outer
tube diameter. Total 18 kW of heat energy can be added from the
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40
E
l
e
c
t
r
i
c

e
n
e
r
g
y

o
u
t
p
u
t

(
k
J

/

s
)
O
u
t
p
u
t

p
o
t
e
n
t
i
a
l

(
V
)
Input Hydrogen flow (mol/s)
Cell potential at 1273 K
At 1073 K
At 873 K
Power at 1273 K
At 1073 K
At 873 K
Fig. 16. Effects of H
2
ow rate variation on cell potential and power output of SOFC
at different cell operating temperatures.
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000
E
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y
,

(
%
)
Current density, J (A/m
2
)
At 873 K
At 1073 K
At 1273 K
Fig. 17. Effects of the variation of the cell current density on electrical efciency at
different cell temperature.
Table 3
Thermodynamic characteristic of the various states in solar-SOSE mode.
State no. Phase _ m (kg/s) T (C) h (kJ/kg) s (kJ/kg K)
1 Water liquid 0.026 30 125.74 0.437
2 Water Steam 0.026 339.23 3074.5 8.21
3 Super steam 0.015 900 4398 9.78
4 H
2
+ H
2
O
steam
0.00241 + 0.0052 900
5 Oxygen gas 0.017 900 1.2 0.008
6 H
2
+H
2
O
steam
0.00241 + 0.0052 400
7 Water liquid 90 419.17 1.30
8 Hydrogen 0.00241 90
a a
a
The enthalpy and entropy at this state is very low.
Table 4
Thermodynamic characteristic of the various states in SOFC mode.
State no. Phase _ m (kg/s) T (C) h (kJ/kg) s (kJ/kg K)
9 Hydrogen gas 0.00241 30 0.017
10 Hydrogen gas 0.00241
11 Hydrogen gas 0.00241 800 34.135 0.171
12 Oxygen gas 0.00964 800 1.2 0.008
13 Water steam 0.0172 900 4398 9.78
14 Water liquid 0.0172 100 125.74 0.437
Table 5
Thermodynamic characteristic of the various states in solar-SOFC mode.
State no. Phase _ m (kg/s) T (C) h (kJ/kg) s (kJ/kg K)
9 Hydrogen gas 9.29 10
4
30 0.017
10 Hydrogen gas 9.29 10
4
800 34.135 0.171
11 Hydrogen gas 9.29 10
4
800 34.135 0.171
12 Oxygen gas 3.72 10
3
800 1.2 0.008
13 Water steam 6.65 103 900 4398 9.78
14 Water liquid 6.65 10
3
100 125.74 0.437
Table 6
The parametric values consideration used to investigate the performance of the
system for 100 kW electric loads.
Parameter Value Parameter Value
Cell area of RSOFC 0.01 m
2
Heat exchanger
effectiveness
0.8
Cell thickness of RSOFC 2.3 mm DC/AC converter
efciency
95%
Operating temperature
of RSOFC
900 C Output hydrogen ow
rate at solar and H
2
mode
0.00241
kg/s
Pressure 1 bar
Fuel utilization ratio 80% Average solar
radiation at solar and
SOFC mode
250 W/m
2
Effectiveness of heat
recovery from
voltage losses
75% Average solar
radiation at solar and
H
2
mode
850 W/m
2
Input H2 ow rate at
SOFC mode
0.00241
kg/s
0.88
0.90
0.92
0.94
0.96
0.98
1.00
1.02
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300
H
e
a
t
/
P
o
w
e
r

r
a
t
i
o
O
v
e
r
a
l
l

e
n
e
r
g
y

e
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y
,

(
%
)
Operating temperature, (K)
Efficiency
Heat to power ratio
Fig. 18. Effects of operating temperature of SOFC on the overall efciency and heat/
power ratio of fuel cell.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 85% 90% 95%
E
n
e
r
g
y

e
f
f
i
c
i
e
n
c
y

(
%
)
Fuel utilization ratio
Electrical
Heat
CHP
Fig. 19. Effects of fuel utilization ratio on the Electrical, Heat and CHP efciency of
SOFC.
R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430 427
HEX-1 considering the temperature of H
2
, H
2
O and O
2
about 900 C
at the electrolyzer output.
In solar-SOFC mode of operation, the power from SOFC depends
on the power delivered by the solar PV. A calculation has been
done and the result is illustrated in Table 7, considering the aver-
age lower solar radiation of 250 W/m
2
. Fig. 21 shows the variations
of SOFCs power generation that changes with the solar radiation
which also indicates that the input H
2
ow rate depends on the so-
lar radiation. The SOFC is operated as partial load in this mode, as a
result the combined efciency of the fuel cell is little higher than
the SOFC mode. The PTSC can provide high quality of water steam
(122 C) at 250 W/m
2
of solar radiations for 0.026 kg/s of water
ow rate during the operation.
The performance comparison of presented cogeneration system
with a building integrated SOFC system has been illustrated [31].
The building integrated SOFC system was used for absorption heat-
ing and cooling applications considering 110 kW SOFC developed
by SiemensWestinghouse [31]. The characteristics of the system
are shown in Table 8 and compared with the proposed model.
The presented CHP system shows lower thermal efciency as well
as overall system efciency than the literature model, because in
model analysis the efciency of heat exchanger was around 80%.
If this system is considered with the heat exchanger efciency of
90% (same as literature model), the proposed system shows more
efcient (Table 8).
5.3. Economic analysis
The economic analysis has been conducted in this subsection
considering the parameters value given in Table 9. For economic
analysis, the system operation has been considered 8 h in day time
for power and hydrogen production and around 7.7 h in night time
for power and heat generation using the produced H
2
. In this anal-
ysis the components capacity has been considered for 100 kW elec-
tric powers. In order to evaluate the cost of energy, the economic
assumptions in Table 9 and Eqs. (83)(86) have been used.
The cost of SOFC and solar-PV are usually the major cost of the
system. For solar-PV the major cost is due to the photovoltaic mod-
ule. The unit price of these components ranges from 0.54 $/Wp up
to 3.35 $/Wp depending on the manufacturer, performance and
warranty. For the analysis an average value of solar-PV of 1.34 $/
Wp is used [60]. Total 306 kW of solar-PV is needed to provide
electricity for the electric load and the electrolyzer. The average
annual solar radiation data in Ref. [6] has been considered to eval-
uate the yearly electricity generation by the solar-PV. According to
the data, the solar-PV provides annually 963.01 MW h electricity
Table 7
The calculated parameters value of the system for 100 kW electric loads.
Parameter Value Parameter Value
At SOFC mode At solar-SOSE mode
Net heat gain within the
fuel cell stack
88.51 kW Water input ow
rate
0.026 kg/s
Heat output from heat
exchanger
117.43 kW Output oxygen ow
rate
0.017 kg/s
Net usable heat gain from
complete fuel cell
system
91.65 kW Heat from
irreversibility losses
10.2 kJ/
mol
Heat efciency 39.32% Heat energy input
needed
51.5 kW
Electrical efciency 44.28% Net energy
delivered by PTSC
33.68 kW
Overall efciency 83.60% Temperature gain of
water from PTSC
339.23 C
At solar-SOFC mode The power required
for steam
electrolysis
148.10 kW
Power delivered by the
PV for load supply
67.3 kW Power delivered by
the PV for
electrolysis
155.9 kW
Power delivered by the
SOFC for load supply
33.42 kW Efciency of PV 14%
H
2
supply to the stack 9.29 10
4
kg/s
Efciency of SOSE 85.1%
O
2
supply to the stack 3.72 10
3
kg/s
Efciency of PTSC 60%
H
2
O out from the stack 6.65 10
3
kg/s
System overall
efciency
20%
Net heat gain within fuel
cell stack
34.13 kW
Net usable heat gain from
complete fuel cell
system
35.34 kW
Combined efciency of
SOFC
85.17%
Efciency of PV 13%
Overall efciency 23%
0.000
0.005
0.010
0.015
0.020
0.025
0.030
0.035
0.040
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900
k
g
/
s
Solar Radiation, (W/m
2
)
H2 output
O2 output
H2O reaction rate
Fig. 20. The variation of H
2
and O
2
generation and H
2
O input ow requirement with
the change of solar radiation.
3.71
19.62
35.52
51.41
67.29
83.16
99.02
114.85
97.94
83.95
69.96
55.97
41.97
27.98
13.99
0.00
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400
T
o
t
a
l

p
o
w
e
r
,

(
k
W
)
Solar radiation, (W/m
2
)
PV SOFC
2.15 1.84 1.53 1.23 0.92 0.61 0.31 0.00
H
2
flow rate 10
-3
, (kg/s)
Fig. 21. The variations of input H
2
ow rate and power generation of SOFC with the
solar radiation changes that depends on the PV output power to meet the 100 kW
electric load.
Table 8
Combined power and heat energy generation performance comparison with
literature.
Parameters Reference model [31] Proposed model
Fuel CH
4
H
2
Fuel utilization, % 85 80
DC power output, kW 95.5 100
Max. heating, kW 96.4 91.65
Electrical efciency, % 43.3 44.28
Thermal efciency, % 43.7 39.32 45.6
a
Combined efciency, % 87 83.6 89.9
a
a
Considering the heat exchanger efciency 90%.
428 R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430
for the electric loads and the electrolyzers. The cost of PTSC with
the supporting structure, reecting mirror, receiver, tracking sys-
tem and foundation is anticipated a value of 368.5 $/m
2
. The oper-
ation and maintenance (O&M) cost has been considered 5% of
investment cost (IC) of PTSC, which covers the water cost that is
used to extract the heat energy from PTSC.
The SOFC cost has been considered 1000 $/kW, which was the
2010 goal set forth by US DOE SECA program [31] and 4% of invest-
ment cost (IC) of SOFC as the operation and maintenance cost. The
cost of electric heater is covered by the O& M cost of SOFC, which
is used in both H
2
production and power generation mode. The elec-
tricity consumption of electric heater has been calculated in SOSE
mode that is 13kW h/year. The pre-heater inSOFCmode is usedonly
at start up time of fuel cell otherwise at full mode operation of SOFC,
it has no activity because the heat exchanger-2 can provide the re-
quiredheat for input fuel (H
2
). The hightemperature heat exchanger
(HEX) has been used in this study, which cost is higher compared to
the lower temperature HEX. The calculation shows that the HEX-2
(5.66 m
2
) is larger than the HEX-1 (1.24 m
2
), because the heat trans-
fer rateof HEX-2betweenthehot andcolduidis high. Obviously, by
increasing the sizes of HEX the cost of it also increases. The entire
individual components controlling cost has been included in O&M
cost of that component. The annual electrical and thermal energy
productions of the fuel cell have been found 273.75 MW h/year
and 257.58 MW h/year respectively. In the physical form, the ther-
mal energy and the electrical energy can be treated equally and
expressedinterms of kW hbut the economic value betweenthermal
energy and electrical energy cannot be treated equally as they are
priced differently in market.
After considering all the components, 2920 h/year for electro-
lyzer and 2815.2 h/year for fuel cell mode of operation, total capital
cost of $592,327 is needed for the proposed system. The annual
investment cost of $47,529.85 has been found taking the annual
interest rate of 5% for 20 years of plant life into consideration. Fi-
nally, the cost of electricity (COE) of the system has been found
about 67.6 $/MW h (0.068 $/kW h).
6. Conclusion
A mathematical model has been developed to simulate the elec-
trical power and the heat energy generation in a co-generation sys-
tem. The model has been conducted by considering the solar
energy in thermal and photovoltaic form with the reversible solid
oxide fuel cell (RSOFC) to produce the H
2
at higher solar radiation
time as well as to generate the electrical power and the heat en-
ergy at night time utilizing the storage H
2
. The cogeneration sys-
tem model has been analysed with considering three modes of
operation: solar-SOSE, SOFC and solar-SOFC. The effects of temper-
ature on the RSOFC and the effects of solar radiation on the solar-
PV and the PTSC have been discussed taking different parameters
value from literature. After that, considering 100 kW of electric
loads, the performances and the economic analysis of the system
according to the operation modes have been presented. The follow-
ing ndings can be concluded from the analysis:
i. The SOFC mode provides the highest net electrical as well as
overall energy efciency compared to other modes. The
main reason behind this efciency increase is lower number
of components is used in SOFC mode. The lowest efciency
was found at solar-SOSE mode because of inefcient solar-
PV, although the efciency of H
2
production is high. Another
cause of low efciency of the system at solar-SOSE and solar-
SOFC mode is the solar radiation intensity (W/m
2
) on the PV
modules and the collectors surface, since the radiation is
considered as the input energy of the system in order to cal-
culate the efciency.
ii. The CHP efciencies for the SOFC, the solar-SOSE and the
solar-SOFC mode are 83.6%, 20% and 23% respectively. On
the other hand the only electrical efciency for the SOFC,
the solar-SOSE and the solar-SOFC are 44.28%, 14% and 15%
respectively.
iii. Additionally, the system provides heat energy at high tem-
perature that can be harnessed for further uses such as for
combined cycle or, for space and domestic water heating.
It will make the system more efcient and economical. In
this study, the heat to power ratio has been found 0.917 at
SOFC mode and 1.09 at solar-SOFC mode. The more heat
energy can be joined from the PTSC at day time.
iv. The temperature changes, instantaneously affected the most
part of RSOFC. The RSOFC system with higher operating tem-
perature for the both H
2
generation in electrolyzer mode and
the power and heat generation in fuel cell mode is more ben-
ecial than lower operating temperature system.
v. The solar radiation changes are highly reected on the H
2
production in solar and H
2
mode because the H
2
production
rate relies on the electrical input that is provided by the PV
and the thermal energy input that is provided by the PTSC.
The power generation of SOFC at solar-SOFC mode is also
changed with solar radiation.
vi. Annually 2920 h in electrolyzer mode and 2815.2 h in fuel
cell mode of operation have been considered for the system
performance and the economic analysis, where the annual
cost of electricity is found 0.068 $/kW h.
7. Recommendations
In this study, the cogeneration systems performances have
been evaluated considering the average solar radiation data from
the literature. The actual performance analysis of the system based
on the geographical weather data will be analyzed further, because
the costs vary geographically due to the climatic conditions and lo-
cal economic circumstances such as electricity tariffs. Although, in
present study only the electricity cost ($/kW h) of the system has
been conducted but the thermal energy generated by the SOFC
has not been considered for cost calculation because the economic
value between thermal energy and electrical energy cannot be
treated equally. Also for thermo-economic analysis the system will
be needed exergy analysis as well. Hence, the presented cogenera-
tion system can be further extended with more details and optimi-
zations in future. After analysing the solar energy and the SOFC
technology based system, it can be recommended that the pro-
posed system will be competitive energy solution for small to large
scale applications such as in hospital, ofce building, hotel, single
or multifamily residential buildings as well as the remote area
far from the grid connection.
Table 9
Economic assumptions [60,55,31].
Fuel cell 1000 $/kW
O&M cost for fuel cell 4% IC of SOFC
Solar PV
a
1.34 $/W
O&M cost for solar PV 0% IC
PTSC system
a
368.5 $/m
2
O&M cost for solar thermal 5% IC of PTSC system
Heat exchanger
a
5360 $/m
2
Converter 57.14 $/kW
Air ow system 2% IC of SOFC
SOFC module lifetime 5 years
Solar PV module lifetime 25 years
Solar PTSC lifetime 25 years
Plant lifetime 20 years
Annual interest rate 5%
Carbon price 0 $/ton CO2
a
1 Euro = USD 1.34 (Year 2013).
R.K. Akikur et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 79 (2014) 415430 429
Acknowledgments
The authors would like to acknowledge the University of Ma-
laya for nancial support. This research was carried under the
HIR-MOHE Project No. UM.C/HIR/MOHE/ENG/22.
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