Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are a promising technology for clean power generation, however their implementation has been limited by several degradation mechanisms, which significantly reduce its lifetime under constant output power and inhibits the technology for commercialization in the near future. With the purpose of harnessing the capabilities offered by SOFCs, the U.S. DOE-National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Morgantown, WV has developed the Hybrid Performance (HyPer) project in which a SOFC 1D, real-time operating model is coupled to a gas turbine hardware system by utilizing hardware-in-the-loop simulation (HiLS).
More recently, in order to assess the long-term stability of the SOFC part of the system, electrochemical degradation due to operating conditions such as current density and fuel utilization have been incorporated into the SOFC model and successfully recreated in real time for standalone and hybrid operation. The mathematical expression for degradation rate was obtained through the analysis of empirical voltage versus time plots for different current densities and fuel utilizations at 750, 800, and 850°C. Simulation results well reflected the behavior of SOFC degradation rates from which the long-term stability of the cell under various conditions was assessed. Distributed fuel cell parameters are presented for both standalone and hybrid configurations. The incorporation of the electrochemical degradation rate into the SOFC model provides a framework to study more realistically Fuel Cell-hybrid systems and set forth a mechanism to improve the long-term stability of SOFCs through the hybridization of such technology.