A newly developed Integrated Gasification Fuel Cell (IGFC) hybrid system concept has been tested using the Hybrid Performance (Hyper) project hardware-based simulation facility at the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory. The cathode-loop hardware facility, previously connected to the real-time fuel cell model, was expanded by the inclusion of a real-time model of a gasifier of solid fuels, in this case biomass fuel. The fuel cell is operated at the compressor delivery pressure, and it is fuelled by an updraft atmospheric gasifier, through the syngas conditioning train for tar removal and syngas compression. The system was brought to steady-state; then, several perturbations in open loop (variable speed) and closed loop (constant speed) were performed in order to characterize the IGFC behavior. Experiments have shown the feasibility of relatively fast control of the plant as well as a possible mitigation strategy to reduce the thermal stress on the fuel cell as a consequence of load variation and change in gasifier operating conditions. Results also provided an insight into the different features of variable vs constant speed operation of the gas turbine section.

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