Solid oxide fuel cell architecture and system design for secure power on an unstable grid

Susan Krumdieck*, Shannon Page, Simon Round

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In a power grid with significant components of distributed generation and insufficient spinning reserve, the quality of delivered power may not meet the requirements of advanced manufacturing. A system design for power quality security which uses solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology is described. Critical parameters for system performance are continuous supply voltage at the nominal voltage and frequency. The grid chosen for this study has significant voltage fluctuations and periodic voltage drops and surges, including total power loss. A supply of methane from a sewer sludge digester is scrubbed of CO2 and used for continuous standby operation, with excess stored to enable 8h operation of an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). The system employs a modular, thermally coupled, SOFC architecture that includes steam reforming of the methane fuel, a rectifier, power controls, and control system. Continuous operation of a 125kW tubular SOFC stack maintains operating temperature and steam for fuel reforming in a secondary SOFC stack, by exhausting through it before a gas turbine expands the exhaust to supply the plant air and fuel compression. Modelling of the energy balance of the system demonstrates the standby and full power operating modes. The system is sized at 250kW to supply secure power for a manufacturing facility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2004


  • Power quality
  • Solid oxide fuel cell
  • Steam reforming
  • Sustainable energy system
  • Uninterruptible power supply
  • Unstable grid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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