Holistic approach to design, test, and optimize stand-alone sofc-reformer systems

Michael Höber*, Benjamin Königshofer, Philipp Wachter, Gjorgji Nusev, Pavle Boskoski, Christoph Hochenauer, Vanja Subotić

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reliable electrical and thermal energy supplies are basic requirements for modern societies and their food supply. Stand-alone stationary power generators based on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) represent an attractive solution to the problems of providing the energy required in both rural communities and in rurally-based industries such as those of the agricultural industry. The great advantages of SOFC-based systems are high efficiency and high fuel flexibility. A wide range of commercially available fuels can be used with no or low-effort pre-treatment. In this study, a design process for stand-alone system consisting of a reformer unit and an SOFC-based power generator is presented and tested. An adequate agreement between the measured and simulated values for the gas compositions after a reformer unit is observed with a maximum error of 3 vol% (volume percent). Theoretical degradation free operation conditions determined by employing equilibrium calculations are identified to be steam to carbon ratio (H2O/C) higher 0.6 for auto-thermal reformation and H2O/C higher 1 for internal reforming. The produced gas mixtures are used to fuel large planar electrolyte supported cells (ESC). Current densities up to 500 mA/cm2 at 0.75 V are reached under internal reforming conditions without degradation of the cells anode during the more than 500 h long-term test run. More detailed electrochemical analysis of SOFCs fed with different fuel mixtures showed that major losses are caused by gas diffusion processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number348
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Chemical equilibrium calculations
  • Electrochemical analysis
  • Reforming processes
  • Sector coupling
  • Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)
  • Stand-alone system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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