Increasing prevalence of extreme weather events and other climate related natural disasters is leading to the increased frequency of power outages. Resilient non-grid dependent power supply for residences is becoming increasingly desirable in order to maintain building management system operation during these events. One potential option for low-maintenance on-site power generation comes from the integration of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) into the combustion chamber of a residential furnace/boiler yielding a combined heat and power (CHP) system. Fuel-rich combustion of natural gas or propane within furnaces/boilers provides the necessary heat as well as fuel for the SOFCs. As a result, the addition of fuel cells into this chamber is possible. The combustion chamber/heat exchanger geometry, however, introduces issues with existing fuel cell geometries that must be addressed before integration is possible.
This work presents the development of novel anode supported tubular SOFCs with internal cathode and the study of their subsequent integration into a furnace/boiler including model exhaust tests as well as individual cell testing. The proposed system has tremendous potential to effect power distribution to residences, and the novel fuel cell designed in this project has many potential applications.