Thermodynamic analysis of direct steam reforming of ethanol in molten carbonate fuel cell
Proceedings of the 1st European Fuel Cell Technology and Applications Conference 2005 - Book of Abstracts, v. 2005, p. 139, 2005.
Silveira, José Luz
Souza, Antonio Carlos Caetano de
Silva, Márcio Evaristo da
Fuel cell as MCFC (molten carbonate fuel cell) operate at high temperatures, and due to this issue, cogeneration processes may be performed, sending heat for own process or other purposes as steam generation in an industry. The use of ethanol for this purpose is one of the best options because this is a renewable and less environmentally offensive fuel, and cheaper than oil-derived hydrocarbons (in the case of Brazil). In the same country, because of technical, environmental and economic advantages, the use of ethanol by steam reforming process have been the most investigated process. The objective of this study is to show a thermodynamic analysis of steam reforming of ethanol, to determine the best thermodynamic conditions where are produced the highest volumes of products, making possible a higher production of energy, that is, a most-efficient use of resources. To attain this objective, mass and energy balances are performed. Equilibrium constants and advance degrees are calculated to get the best thermodynamic conditions to attain higher reforming efficiency and, hence, higher electric efficiency, using the Nernst equation. The advance degree of reforming increases when the operation temperature also increases and when the operation pressure decreases. But at atmospheric pressure (1 atm), the advance degree tends to the stability in temperatures above 700°C, that is, the volume of supplemental production of reforming products is very small for the high use of energy resources necessary. Reactants and products of the steam-reforming of ethanol that weren't used may be used for the reforming. The use of non-used ethanol is also suggested for heating of reactants before reforming. The results show the behavior of MCFC. The current density, at same tension, is higher at 700°C than other studied temperatures as 600 and 650°C. This fact occurs due to smaller use of hydrogen at lower temperatures that varies between 46.8 and 58.9% in temperatures between 600 and 700°C. The higher calculated current density is 280 mA/cm 2. The power density increases when the volume of ethanol to be used also increases due to higher production of hydrogen. The highest produced power at 190 mW/cm 2 is 99.8, 109.8 and 113.7 mW/cm2 for 873, 923 and 973K, respectively. The thermodynamic efficiency has the objective to show the connection among operational conditions and energetic factors, which are some parameters that describes a process of internal steam reforming of ethanol.