A quasi-2D model was proposed and made available for numerical studies on the performance of a single tubular solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) under practical operating conditions. The model takes account of the air and fuel flow velocity fields, ohmic and thermodynamic heat generation, convective heat-transfer, mass transfer of participating chemical species including the electrochemical processes, and the electric potential and electric current in the electrodes and electrolyte. Numerical computation was carried out to test the proposed model for a single unit cell having a specific geometry being operated at a few different thermal and composition conditions for the inlet fuel and air flows. Obtained numerical results show that the quasi-two-dimensional approximation adopted in the model to mitigate the computational cost effectively can work reasonably well. At low electric current density, the cell terminal voltage was overpredicted. In order to improve the model on this point, the simple treatment adopted for the activation and concentration polarization in the model must be replaced by a more sophisticated approach in future studies. Discussions were further given concerning the obtained results for the overall cell performance and the detailed features of the velocity, thermal, and mass-transfer fields in the cell in addition to the local electrochemical characteristics. It is suggested that the air flow convective heat-transfer is important as a cooling means and that overpotential due to concentration polarization is more serious for the cathode side than for the anode side. All the presented results including the electricity conversion efficiency were observed to agree reasonably well with the popularly accepted cell performance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry