Crossflow flat solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) semi-empirical modeling and the multi-fuel property based on a commercial 700 W stack

Junhan Cheng*, Ralph Lavery, Christopher S. McCallum, Kevin Morgan, John Doran, Chunfei Wu, Kening Sun*, David W. Rooney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology has attracted vast attention for combined heat and power (CHP) application on low or zero carbon emissions because of its high efficiency and multi-fuel selectivity. Due to the high operation temperature, a commercial SOFC system requires a complex system thermal balance and stack self-heating ability which are dramatically influenced by the inlet temperature, reaction heat and thermal radiation of the stack. Multi-fuel selectivity is a further distinct advantage when considering the future variety of renewable fuel sources, such as ammonia (from animal farming), bio-methane (from agriculture), and the other hydrocarbons using carbon capture as an effective H2 carrier. However, the alternating between different fuel types may result in reduced power and the internal heat balance to change, which may further lead to the stack cooling down or over heated. An appropriate model with fast calculation processing capability is necessary to assess the internal changes before switching the fuel source and to inform further decision making to enable the control system to adapt to the change. In this paper, a cross-channel, flat SOFC semi-empirical model is proposed and validated by a commercial 700 W stack using real testing data to assess the accuracy of the simulation results. The SOFC model has multi-fuel ability which presents different properties and internal understanding for H2, NH3, and reformed CH4 through relevant charts (for feed, velocity, temperature, reaction rate, current, power, heat, efficiency). The power outputs for the different fuel sources, H2, NH3, and reformed CH4, are 721.0 W, 628.9 W and 679.7 W respectively when calculated at an air inlet temperature of 893 K. The modeling work was completed using Aspen Plus for SOFC system thermal balance simulations which determined the power output property for 813.3 W (H2), 744.5 W (direct NH3) and 740.7 W (reformed CH4) at the 2.0 times stoichiometric ratio of air feed, and CHP rate of 0.903 (H2), 0.787 (direct NH3) and 0.311 (reformed CH4). This work has the potential to contribute to the United Nation Sustainable Development Goal for Affordable and Clean Energy, Goal 7.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130172
Number of pages12
Issue numberPart A
Early online date31 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2024


  • SOFC stack simulation
  • Hydrogen carrier
  • SOFC power system emulation
  • Multi-fuel selectivity


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