Integration of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell system with a heat driven refrigeration system for refrigerated transportation application

Pandya, Bhargav ORCID: 0000-0001-7967-1277 (2023). Integration of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell system with a heat driven refrigeration system for refrigerated transportation application. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This study investigates a novel combined cooling and power concept with a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) driven Vapour Absorption Refrigeration System (VARS) for automotive transportation. The novel concept is focused on future powertrain designs where the fuel cell electrically contributes to both tractive force and auxiliary loads, with the heat generated used to operate a VARS. This thesis therefore focuses on the integration of an SOFC system with a VARS for automotive transportation applications. To prove the feasibility of such a concept, the work is divided into two categories, namely: an experimental approach and a simulation approach. In order to gain confidence in in the feasibility of SOFC integrated VARS concept, experiments were carried out on a laboratory set-up. It appeared that it was possible to achieve freezing temperatures down to -8ºC with the laboratory set-up.

A detailed steady state and transient simulation model of the SOFC and VARS combined system was then developed. In the first step of steady state simulation, the performance of different SOFC system configurations to power a VARS were compared. The best SOFC system layout and operating conditions to obtain optimised performance of the combined system were identified. The selection of the operating envelope of the SOFC system to power a VARS is not a straightforward process as it appeared that a balance had to be struck between the need for refrigeration load, power density, emissions, and the overall efficiency of the system. Hence, a comprehensive thermodynamic performance analysis was carried out to select the preferred operating envelope for the SOFC system considering several crucial performance parameters.

A detailed 0D SOFC, and a 1D VARS transient model were prepared to analyse the different operational phases of the integrated system during truck operating hours. The transient simulation concept of predicting SOFC integrated VARS performance under load following conditions for automotive application has been explored here for the first time. The system level transient simulation was carried out for the hottest and coldest day of a calendar year to observe the SOFC system response in matching the varying refrigeration load. It was observed that the SOFC system could deal with load following conditions without violating any operating constraints.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Steinberger-Wilckens, RobertUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Chemical Engineering
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, UK Government
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
T Technology > TP Chemical technology


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