Growing concerns on CO<sub>2</sub> emissions have led to the development of highly efficient power plants. Options for increased energy efficiencies include alternative energy conversion pathways, energy integration and process intensification. Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) constitute a promising alternative for power generation since they convert the chemical energy electrochemically directly to electricity. Their high operating temperature shows potential for energy integration with energy intensive units (e.g. steam reforming reactors). Although energy integration is an essential tool for increased efficiencies, it leads to highly complex process schemes with rich dynamic behavior, which are challenging to control. Furthermore, the use of process intensification for increased energy efficiency imposes an additional control challenge.
This dissertation identifies and proposes solutions on design, operational and control challenges of integrated systems for hydrogen production and power generation. Initially, a study on energy integrated SOFC systems is presented. Design alternatives are identified, control strategies are proposed for each alternative and their validity is evaluated under different operational scenarios. The operational range of the proposed control strategies is also analyzed. Next, thermal management of water gas shift membrane reactors, which are a typical application of process intensification, is considered. Design and operational objectives are identified and a control strategy is proposed employing advanced control algorithms. The performance of the proposed control strategy is evaluated and compared with classical control strategies. Finally SOFC systems for combined heat and power applications are considered. Multiple recycle loops are placed to increase design flexibility. Different operational objectives are identified and a nonlinear optimization problem is formulated. Optimal designs are obtained and their features are discussed and compared.
The results of the dissertation provide a deeper understanding on the design, operational and control challenges of the above systems and can potentially guide further commercialization efforts. In addition to this, the results can be generalized and used for applications from the transportation and residential sector to large--scale power plants.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2013. Major: Chemical Engineering. Advisor: Prodromos Daoutidis. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 121 pages.
Design and control of integrated systems for hydrogen production and power generation.
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