A high temperature gradient within a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack is considered a major challenge in SOFC operations. This study investigates the effects of the key parameters on SOFC system efficiency and temperature gradient within a SOFC stack. A 40-cell SOFC stack integrated with a bio-oil sorption-enhanced steam reformer is simulated using MATLAB and DETCHEM. When the air-to-fuel ratio and steam-to-fuel ratio increase, the stack average temperature and temperature gradient decrease. However, a decrease in the stack temperature steadily reduces the system efficiency owing to the tradeoff between the stack performance and thermal balance between heat recovered and consumed by the system. With an increase in the bio-oil flow rate, the system efficiency decreases because of the lower resident time for the electrochemical reaction. This is not, however, beneficial to the maximum temperature gradient. To minimize the temperature gradient of the SOFC stack, a decrease in the bio-oil flow rate is the most effective way. The maximum temperature gradient can be reduced to 14.6 K cm−1 with the stack and system efficiency of 76.58 and 65.18%, respectively, when the SOFC system is operated at an air-to-fuel ratio of 8, steam-to-fuel ratio of 6, and bio-oil flow rate of 0.0041 mol s−1.
- Solid oxide fuel cell system
- Sorption-enhanced steam reforming
- System efficiency
- Temperature gradient