Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)/ gas turbine (GT) hybrid systems possess the capacity for unprecedented performances, such as electric efficiencies nearly twice that of conventional heat engines at variable scale power ratings inclusive of distributed generation. Additionally, these hybrids can have excellent operational flexibility with turndowns possibly as great as 85%. There are, however, developmental needs such as turbomachinery characterization and re-design. A leading example is that of greater propensity to have occurrences of stall-surge given the significantly different operating environment in contrast to conventional heat engines. Additionally, dynamic variation in power generation has to be done with significant a priori insight to avoid thermomechanical threats to cell stack and turbomachinery.
State-of-the-art approaches involving hardware-in-the-loop simulation and, ultimately, additive manufacturing are being pursued to enable such characterization and re-design considerations given variable and dynamic operability requirements. Compressor performance in hybrid systems has been characterized at the United States National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), inclusive of a capability of feed forward hardware-in-the-loop simulation of hybrid systems under dynamic conditions and a capability of replacing turbine and compressor components at a relatively low cost. This paper highlights some of the simulation results, and the net result is an approach that addresses hybrid system developmental needs for accommodating generation transients.