This paper presents a framework for the system integration and optimization of a molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) working under stationary conditions using process integration. Here, the analysis is focused on two systems in terms of the efficiency and process requirements: (i) an MCFC system alone and (ii) an MCFC system integrated with the steam turbine cycle, now onwards referred to as fuel cell combined cycle system for electric power generation. In the first system, a steady state direct internal reforming MCFC system is being simulated using desulphurized natural gas. A heat exchanger network is developed using process integration so that a minimum amount of external thermal energy is provided to the fuel cell system for electric power generation. In the second analysis, a steam turbine system is added to the first (fuel cell) one to form a fuel cell combined cycle system. The procedure for developing a network of heat exchangers and proper integration of the steam turbine system with an optimized minimum temperature difference is discussed. The results of the study elucidate the advantages of properly designed fuel cell combined cycle system to reach power demand with 17% higher efficiency as compared with the system without a combined cycle.

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