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Transfer function development for SOFC/GT hybrid systems control using cold air bypass

Zaccaria, V., Tucker, D., Traverso, A.
Applied energy 2016 v.165 pp. 695-706
air, cathodes, fuel cells, mass flow, models, temperature
Fuel cell gas turbine hybrids present significant challenges in terms of system control because of the coupling of different time-scale phenomena. Hence, the importance of studying the integrated system dynamics is critical. With the aim of safe operability and efficiency optimization, the cold air bypass valve was considered an important actuator since it affects several key parameters and can be very effective in controlling compressor surge. Two different tests were conducted using a cyber-physical approach. The Hybrid Performance (HyPer) facility couples gas turbine equipment with a cyber physical solid oxide fuel cell in which the hardware is driven by a numerical fuel cell model operating in real time. The tests were performed moving the cold air valve from the nominal position of 40% with a step of 15% up and down, while the system was in open loop, i.e. no control on turbine speed or inlet temperature. The effect of the valve change on the system was analyzed and transfer functions were developed for several important variables such as cathode mass flow, total pressure drop and surge margin. Transfer functions can show the response time of different system variables, and are used to characterize the dynamic response of the integrated system. Opening the valve resulted in an immediate positive impact on pressure drop and surge margin. A valve change also significantly affected fuel cell temperature, demonstrating that the cold air bypass can be used for thermal management of the cell.