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 integrated with a real-time model of a gasifier of solid (biomass and fossil) fuel. The fuel cells are operated at the compressor delivery pressure, and they are fueled 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. Coupled experiments and computations 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 cells as a consequence of load variation and change in gasifier operating conditions. Results also provided an insight into the different features of variable versus constant speed operation of the gas turbine section.

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