A comprehensive 3D CFD model is developed for a bi-electrode supported cell (BSC) SOFC. The model includes complicated transport phenomena of mass/heat transfer, charge (electron and ion) migration, and electrochemical reaction. The uniqueness of the modeling study is that functionally graded porous electrode property is taken into account, including not only linear but nonlinear porosity distributions. Extensive numerical analysis is performed to elucidate the effects of both porous microstructure distributions and operating condition on cell performance. Results indicate that cell performance is strongly dependent on both operating conditions and porous microstructure distributions of electrodes. Using the proposed fuel/gas feeding design, the uniform hydrogen distribution within porous anode is achieved; the oxygen distribution within the cathode is dependent on porous microstructure distributions as well as pressure loss conditions. Simulation results show that fairly uniform temperature distribution can be obtained with the proposed fuel/gas feeding design. The modeling results can be employed to guide experimental design of BSC test and provide pre-experimental analysis, as a result, to circumvent high cost associated with try-and-error experimental design and setup.

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