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Research Papers: Alternative Energy Sources

Biogas Combustion in Premixed Flames or Electrochemical Oxidation in SOFC: Exergy and Emission Comparison

[+] Author and Article Information
Pierluigi Leone

Dipartimento Energia,
Politecnico di Torino,
10129 Torino, Italy

Suresh K. Aggarwal

University of Illinois at Chicago,
2039 ERF MC 251,
842 W. Taylor,
Chicago, IL 60607-7022

http://www.sandia.gov/chemkin, incorporating complex chemical kinetics into simulations of reacting flow, considering problems involving gas-phase and heterogeneous (gas-surface) chemical kinetics.

http://www.cantera.org, a collection of object-oriented software tools for problems involving chemical kinetics, thermodynamics, and transport processes.

Contributed by the Internal Combustion Engine Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology. Manuscript received June 26, 2012; final manuscript received October 10, 2012; published online March 21, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Kevin M. Lyons.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 135(2), 021201 (Mar 21, 2013) (11 pages) Paper No: JERT-12-1146; doi: 10.1115/1.4023173 History: Received June 26, 2012; Revised October 10, 2012

In the future energy pathway, characterized by flexibility of technologies and fuels, biogas could represent an alternative to conventional natural gas in feeding multiple types of technologies, both traditional thermal machines (chemical reactions), and innovative electrochemical generators such as fuel cells (electrochemical reactions). To compare the two pathways of energy production, two criteria are considered: (a) environmental analysis (emissions) and (b) exergy analysis. The results of the environmental and exergy comparison are presented and discussed in case of two selected transformation processes: partially premixed flames (PPFs, for chemical processes) and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs, for electrochemical processes), for a range of operating conditions. From an environmental point of view, the PPF exhaust stream has significant traces of NOx and C2H2, which are precursors of atmosphere pollution, while the SOFC exhaust stream does not contain such chemical species due to the absence of combustion. From a exergy point of view, the utilisation of the biogas in form of electrochemical oxidation in a SOFC indicates significantly higher exergetic efficiency compared to the chemical oxidation in partially premixed flames.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Geometry of the axisymmetric opposed-flow diffusion flame. The dashed line represents the stagnation flame; the shaded region suggests the flame.

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Fig. 2

Geometry of a tubular SOFC

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Fig. 3

Effect of strain-rate and equivalence ratio on biogas-air counter-flow flames: (a) CO, (b) CO2, (c) C2H2, (d) NO, (e) NO2 profiles

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Fig. 4

Predicted mole fraction profiles of major chemical species when CO2-to-biogas ratio is set to (a) 1.0 and (b) 1.5 (open circuit voltage configuration)

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Fig. 5

Predicted mole fraction profiles of major chemical species when CO2-to-biogas ratio is set to (a) 1.0 and (b) 1.5 (I = 15 A, FU = 50%)

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