Compared with conventional power generation technologies, Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) has many advantages such as high power efficiency, clean discharge, wide range of fuels, etc. and besides all above, it is also a very attractive distributed power generation technology, by using which we can build large scale fixed power plant or small household cogeneration equipment which is believed with good prospect for commercialization.
However, a major problem for commercialization of SOFC is the system integration technology, which including how to build self-thermal hot-box with SOFC stack as core, how to develop intelligent control modules, and how to improve output power stability and durability.
The SOFC system design and integration group led by Prof. Weiguo Wang is a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary group of NIMTE, CAS. Recently, the research group has developed a 1kw auto-thermal power generation systems, and output net power and energy for the first time in China.
This auto-thermal power generation system uses civil natural gas as fuel, and is similar to a small refrigerator in size. It is able to output power of about 780 watts continuously and stably when discharging current is at 20 amps constantly (Fig. 1).
The maximum power is about 870w, and the largest power generation efficiency is 43%, and after the system's own consumption (about 90w) deducted, the efficiency is 39% (Fig. 2), which is equal to the average efficiency reported by some fuel cell power generation companies in United States and Japan .