Inderscience Publishers

Solar powered solid oxide fuel cell with thermoelectric generator

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Durable, location independent, environmental–friendly sources of energy which allow for modular, few moving parts, low operating noise, high electricity generation efficiency and compact technology are highly desirable. Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are promising for such energy system development, since they are energy efficient and, if pure hydrogen is used, have virtually no emissions of greenhouse gases except water and heat. However, the technology is still in the early phases of development due to lack of a design for single hydrogen fuel cells, and problems with hydrogen production and storage. In this study, an all year round operation home generator recovering its waste heat, integrated with photovoltaic panels supplying energy to split recyclable water (electrolysis) into hydrogen and oxygen has been put in place. The mathematical models of the unit as energy, charge, efficiency, activation and concentration losses of gases in channels were elaborated. The models gave necessary information for assessing and optimising the design. The experimental results have demonstrated a remarkable energy generation and recovering with the integrated system, lower noise, possibility of achieving hydrogen economy and therefore clean environment.

Keywords: solar energy, solar power, recycled water, solid oxide fuel cells, SOFCs, thermoelectric generators, TEGs, energy efficiency, efficacy, hydrogen production, home generators, waste heat recovery, photovoltaic panels, electrolysis, mathematical modelling

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