This paper presents the electricity and hydrogen co-production concept, a methodology for the study of SOFC hydrogen co-production, and simulation results that address the impact of reformer placement in the cycle on system performance. The methodology is based on detailed thermodynamic and electrochemical analyses of the systems. A comparison is made between six specific cycle configurations, which use fuel cell heat to drive hydrogen production in a reformer using both external and internal reforming options. SOFC plant performance has been evaluated on the basis of methane fuel utilization efficiency and each component of the plant has been evaluated on the basis of second law efficiency. The analyses show that in all cases the exergy losses (irreversibilities) in the combustion chamber are the most significant losses in the cycle. Furthermore, for the same power output, the internal reformation option has the higher electrical efficiency and produces more hydrogen per unit of natural gas supplied. Electrical efficiency of the proposed cycles ranges from 41% to 44%, while overall efficiency (based on combined electricity and hydrogen products) ranges from 45% to 80%. The internal reforming case (steam-to-carbon ratio of 3.0) had the highest overall and electrical efficiency (80% and 45% respectively), but lower second law efficiency (61%), indicating potential for cycle improvements.

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