Electrical load transients imposed on the cell stack of a solid oxide fuel cell/gas turbine hybrid power system are studied using the Hybrid Performance (HyPer) project. The hardware simulation facility is located at the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). A computational fuel cell model capable of operating in real time is integrated with operating gas turbine hardware. The thermal output of a modeled 350 kW solid oxide fuel cell stack is replicated in the facility by a natural gas fired burner in a direct fired hybrid configuration. Pressure vessels are used to represent a fuel cell stack's cathode flow and post combustion volume and flow impedance. This hardware is used to simulate the fuel cell stack and is incorporated with a modified turbine, compressor, and 120 kW generator on a single shaft. For this study, a simulation was started with a simulated current demand of 307 A on the fuel cell at approximately 0.75 V and an actual 45 kW electrical load on the gas turbine. An open loop response, allowing the turbine rotational speed to respond to thermal transients, was successfully evaluated for a 5% current reduction on the fuel cell followed by a 5% current increase. The impact of the fuel cell load change on system process variables is presented. The test results demonstrate the capabilities of the hardware-in-the-loop simulation approach in evaluating hybrid fuel cell turbine dynamics and performance.

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