Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology has been shown to be viable, but its profitability has not yet been seen. To achieve a high net efficiency at a low net cost, a detailed understanding of the transport processes both inside and outside of the SOFC stack is required. Of particular significance is an accurate determination of the temperature distribution because material properties, chemical kinetics and transport properties depend heavily on the temperature. Effective utilization of the heat can lead to a substantial increase in overall system efficiency and decrease in operating cost. Despite the extreme importance in accurately predicting temperature, the majority of SOFC modeling work ignores radiative heat transfer. SOFCs operate at temperatures around or above 1200 K, where radiation effects can be significant. In order to correctly predict the radiation heat transfer, participating gases must also be included. Water vapour and carbon dioxide can absorb, emit, and scatter radiation, and are present at the anode in high concentrations. This paper presents a thermal transport model for analyzing heat transfer and improving thermal management within planar SOFCs. The model was implemented using a commercial computational fluid dynamic (CFD) code and includes conduction, convection, and radiation in a participating media. It is clear from this study that radiation must be considered when modelling solid oxide fuel cells. The effect of participating media radiation was shown to be minimal in this geometry, but it is likely to be more important in tubular geometries.

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