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Solid oxide fuel cell fed with biofuel as an electric flexible provider in a distributed grid (flexpower)

Abstract

The worldwide conventional thermal engines used for power generation needs biofuels to meet nowadays environmental requirements. Such technologies are characterized by their very limited energy conversion efficiencies, which, especially when short size electrical devices are employed, are not higher than 20%. As a consequence, the electrochemical devices, such as the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), become very competitive since they have a practical electrical efficiency higher than 60 % and also provide low air pollution impact in terms of particulates, carbon monoxide, and noise during operation. In Brazil, a great energy demand in automotive applications is fulfilled by bioethanol, and so the development of novel technologies for power generation in this sector is highly wished. On the other hands, to date Italy is one of the most recognized country for the development of advanced SOFC based technologies. Therefore, it is a strategic factor to accomplish a cooperation program between Italy and Brazil in the field of SOFC/renewable fuels for distributed energy, involving required competences on fundamental investigation at the nanoscale, nanotechnology, electrochemistry, materials synthesis, advanced characterization, chemical engineering, real applications and degradation tests. The FlexPower proposal aims to develop a new generation SOFC stack based on advanced ceramic materials for the direct utilization of biofuels to reduce the complexity of the balance-of-plant and produce electrical power and heat with high overall efficiency (~90 % CHP - combined heat and power, >50% electrical efficiency). The direct utilization of biofuels will be demonstrated in a 0.5 kW proof-of-concept SOFC with planar architecture amenable to scaling up and will be validated in terms of performance, efficiency and durability. (AU)

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