Development of Micro Combined Cooling and Power System Driven by Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC-mCCP) for Premises in Hot and Humid Climate

Project: Research

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This study is to shift the idea of combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP, or trigeneration)to combined cooling and power (CCP), which is driven by the prime mover using solid oxidefuel cells (SOFC). The research target is to generate a more energy-efficient air-conditioningand electricity supply for the premises in hot and humid cities, where cooling and power isessential but not heating. In particular, there is great potential for a micro CCP driven bySOFC (SOFC-mCCP) to be applied in the premises of building retrofit. So far, the commonprime movers are related to the thermodynamic cycles, like internal combustion engine andgas turbine. Now the technology of fuel cells becomes mature, this new option of primemover can offer the merits of steady electrical efficiency and silent operation. SOFC hasadditional advantage of high electrical efficiency, which is commonly around 50%.The proposed system design of SOFC-mCCP primarily includes SOFC power generation unit;inverter type vapor-compression air-conditioner (AC); solid desiccant cooling unit (SDCU);and an integrated control and monitoring unit. Electricity generated from SOFC is used tosatisfy the indoor electrical demands. It is also used to drive the AC for handling thetransmission and internal heat gains. In order to have a satisfactory indoor air quality for thepremises, the necessary amount of outdoor air would be introduced and treated by the SDCU,which is driven by the recovered heat from SOFC. The electricity produced from SOFCwould also feed the parasitic equipment involved. Thermal storage is considered for effectiveheat recovery and utilization. Since a number of system components are involved in theproposed SOFC-mCCP, an appropriate control algorithm is essential to realize an effectivedeployment strategy and integrated operation among the SOFC unit, the AC and the SDCU.Experimental test rigs of the SOFC-mCCP will be built to assess the component and systemperformances in different loading and operating conditions. Then dynamic simulationmodels of the various component units of the SOFC-mCCP will be developed and validated.Through year-round dynamic simulation, the design and operation parameters will beoptimized according to minimum fuel consumption and environmental impact. Design pointand part-load characteristics of the SOFC-mCCP will be investigated. An integrated controland monitoring algorithm will be developed for effective deployment and operation of thevarious components involved in the SOFC-mCCP system.For the proposed SOFC-mCCP, the research outcomes will deliver an optimal system designand a robust control scheme. This can allow the SOFC-mCCP have wide application indifferent functional areas, like offices, conference rooms, hotels, theatres, shops, assemblyhalls, no matter in the retrofit or new building projects. In the hot and humid cities, it isexpected that the SOFC-mCCP would promote energy efficiency and carbon emission cut forsustainable urbanization.


Project number9042173
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1615/06/20

    Research areas

  • Combined cooling and power,Solid oxide fuel cells,Desiccant cooling,Design optimization,