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Knock Sensor and Passive Pressure Relief Components for Detecting and Correcting Fuel Cell System Operational Conditions

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000245607D
Publication Date: 2016-Mar-21
Document File: 88 page(s) / 2M

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Leon Radomsky: ATTORNEY [+5]

Abstract

A fuel cell system may include a hot box, a fuel cell stack located in the hot box, an anode tail gas oxidizer, and a heat exchanger located in the hot box. The hot box may be configured with a pressure relief mechanism located in one or more areas such as an area near a top end of the anode tail gas oxidizer, an area below the anode tail gas oxidizer, and an area near the heat exchanger. The fuel cell system may include an outer shell enclosing the hot box, the fuel cell stack, the anode tail gas oxidizer and the at least heat exchanger. The outer shell may be further configured with a percussion sensor configured to detect the percussion event.

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Page 01 of 88

Atty. Dkt. No. 7917-517P

KNOCK SENSOR AND PASSIVE PRESSURE RELIEF COMPONENTS FOR DETECTING AND CORRECTING FUEL CELL SYSTEM OPERATIONAL CONDITIONS

FIELD


[0001]Embodiments of the disclosed invention are directed to fuel cell systems, specifically to components for a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system hot box, such as pressure event sensor components and passive pressure relief components for detecting and correcting operating conditions in a SOFC system hot box.

BACKGROUND


[0002]Fuel cells, such as solid oxide fuel cells, are electrochemical devices which can convert energy stored in fuels to electrical energy with high efficiencies. High temperature fuel cells include solid oxide and molten carbonate fuel cells. These fuel cells may operate using hydrogen and/or hydrocarbon fuels. There are classes of fuel cells, such as the solid oxide regenerative fuel cells, that also allow reversed operation, such that oxidized fuel can be reduced back to unoxidized fuel using electrical energy as an input.

SUMMARY


[0003]An embodiment relates to a fuel cell system, comprising: a hot box; a fuel cell stack located in the hot box; an anode tail gas oxidizer (ATO) located in the hot box; at least one heat exchanger located in the hot box; and a pressure relief mechanism configured to outlet an exhaust stream in response to a percussion event in the ATO.

[0004]A further embodiment relates to fuel cell system, comprising: a hot box; a fuel cell stack located in the hot box; an anode tail gas oxidizer (ATO) located in the hot box; at least one heat exchanger located in the hot box; and a knock sensor configured to detect a

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Page 02 of 88

Atty. Dkt. No. 7917-517P

percussion event in the ATO.

[0005]A further embodiment relates to a method of operating a fuel cell system having a hot box; a fuel cell stack located in the hot box; an anode tail gas oxidizer (ATO) located in the hot box; at least one heat exchanger located in the hot box; and a pressure relief mechanism. The method comprises operating the fuel cell system to generate electricity; and outletting an exhaust stream through the pressure relief mechanism in response to an overpressure condition in the at least one area of the hot box.

[0006]A further embodiment relates to a method of operating a fuel cell system having a hot box; a fuel cell stack located in the hot box; an anode tail gas oxidizer (ATO) located in the hot box; and at least one heat exchanger located in the hot box. The method comprises operating the fuel cell system to generate electricity; and increasing an air flow to the ATO and the fuel cell stack in response to a percussion event in the ATO.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS


[0007]FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a prior art fuel cell unit with an integrated SOFC and fuel processor.

[0008]FIGS. 2A and 2B are sectional views showing one half of the prior art fuel cell unit of FIG.1, with FIG. 2A illustrating the flows of the cathode feed and exhaust gases and FI...