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ASHRAE Student Member Explores Possibilities In Fuel Cell Systems In November STBE

ASHRAE Student Member Explores Possibilities In Fuel Cell Systems In November STBE

From eSociety, November 2017

ASHRAE members have free online access to Science and Technology for the Built Environment using their existing ASHRAE.org login credentials.


ASHRAE Student Member Explores Possibilities in Fuel Cell Systems in November STBE

Amid the rise of fuel cell systems applications for residential heat and power generation, Ryan Milcarek, Student Member ASHRAE, identifies available methods for assessment of fuel cell micro cogeneration systems in his “Review and Analysis of Fuel Cell Based, Micro Cogeneration for Residential Applications: Current State and Future Opportunities” literature review that appears in the November edition of the Science and Technology for the Built Environment (STBE). Milcarek—a Ph.D. candidate at Syracuse University, a JSPS International Research Fellow at the Institute of Fluid Science at Tohoku University and a National Science Foundation GRFP Graduate Fellow—discusses the significance of his literature review as a way to better prepare the industry for the technology's future and help engineers assess and compare micro cogeneration technologies.

Why did you choose to focus on fuel cell systems in your literature review?
Fuel cell systems with applications in micro cogeneration for residential heat and power generation are growing. In some areas of the world, these microcogeneration systems are becoming very competitive with, and even outselling, combustion-based systems. Recent research is also exploring ways to achieve more rapid start-up and cycling of solid oxide fuel cells. Based on these motivations, a literature review was undertaken to assess the current state of fuel cell-based micro-cogeneration system modeling in buildings. Previous methods and the current state of understanding in the field are investigated and future directions are recommended.

What is the significance of the research?
This research attempts to identify the methods available for assessment of fuel cell micro cogeneration systems. While there are many approaches, which range in sophistication, some approaches, like the 0D model, have their limitations. These limitations have, in some cases, led to inappropriate comparisons and conclusions for the potential of fuel cell micro cogeneration. A more integrated approach has been developed (i.e., the Building Integrated approach) with increased sophistication for modeling the building loads and fuel cell micro cogeneration response. Application and further development of this approach is needed as fuel cell technology improves and becomes competitive with other technologies.

What lessons, facts and/or guidance can an engineer working in the field take away from this research?
Originally, the black box or 0D approach was taken for fuel cell micro cogeneration studies effectively separating the dynamics of the building from the fuel cell performance. This approach is simple and can be justified for some fuel cell micro cogeneration systems that do not adjust with load, but it is not always appropriate for use in the field. Research and development has identified ways to increase fuel cell startup and cycling capabilities, which may lead to improvements in fuel cell micro cogeneration system’s ability to follow loads. Furthermore, a more integrated approach for fuel cell micro cogeneration assessment in buildings has been developed in recent years and is recommended for proper energy assessment of fuel cell-based micro cogeneration systems. This approach captures building and fuel cell microcogeneration dynamics. This approach will benefit engineers working in the field when faced with the task of assessing and comparing micro cogeneration technologies.

Were there any surprises or unforeseen challenges for you when preparing this review and analysis?
We had hoped to provide a comparison of the different fuel cell micro cogeneration modeling approaches (e.g., 0D, 1D, 2D, etc.) based on previous studies. However, after reviewing the literature it was evident that the approaches taken varied significantly, even when the same general approach was used (e.g., 1D model for two different studies). It was challenging to clearly identify a way to properly compare studies. A more standardized method is needed when using any of these different approaches in order to make proper comparisons across studies. 


Table of Contents for the November edition of Science and Technology for the Built Environment

Science and Technology for the Built Environment Online Free for ASHRAE Members

ASHRAE members have free online access to Science and Technology for the Built Environment (STBE) using their ASHRAE member login credentials. Here is the Table of Contents for the latest edition:

Table of Contents

Volume 23, Issue 8, November 2017


New portal for Science and Technology for the Built Environment manuscript submissions improves process

General Issue

·   Optimal tuning of cascaded control architectures for nonlinear HVAC systems

·   Development of thermodynamic and reaction kinetic data on BaCl2 -NH3 system with and without expanded natural graphite

·   Detailed velocity profiles in close-coupled elbows—Measurements and computational fluid dynamics predictions (RP-1682)

·   Review and analysis of fuel cell-based, microcogeneration for residential applications: Current state and future opportunities

·   Multi-objective optimization of thermo-acoustic devices using teaching-learning-based optimization algorithm

·   Automated fault detection and diagnosis methods for supermarket equipment (RP-1615)

·   Improvements on the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers Handbook equations for sizing borehole ground heat exchangers

·   A field investigation of a solar-powered adsorption cooling system under Guangzhou’s climate with various numbers of heat exchangers in the adsorbers

·   Influence of air supply mode on airflow distribution in ship conference room applyingcooling ceiling

·   Influence of pore structure on humidity control performance of diatomite