The dynamic behavior of a solid oxide fuel cell gas turbine hybrid system (SOFC/GT) from both open and closed loop transients in response to sudden changes in fuel composition was experimentally investigated. A pilot-scale (200kW – 700kW) hybrid facility available at the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory was used to perform the experiments using a combination of numerical models and actual equipment.

In the open loop configuration, the turbine speed was driven by the thermal effluent fed into the gas turbine system, where the thermal effluent was determined by the feedforward fuel cell control system. However, in the closed loop configuration, a load-based speed control system was used to maintain the turbine speed constant at 40,500rpm by adjusting the load on the turbine, in addition to the implementation of the fuel cell system control.

The open loop transient response showed that the impacts of fuel composition changes on key process variables, such as fuel cell thermal effluent, turbine speed and cathode feed stream conditions in the SOFC/GT systems were propagated over the course of the test, except for the cathode inlet temperature. The trajectories of the aforementioned variables are discussed in this paper to better understand the resulting mitigation/propagation behaviors. This will help lead to the development of novel control strategies to mitigate the negative impacts experienced during fuel composition transients of SOFC/GT systems.

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