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Limits of Performance for Alternate Fuel Energy to Mechanical Work Conversion Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
George A. Adebiyi

Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS

Paper No. IMECE2003-41285, pp. 173-181; 9 pages
  • ASME 2003 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Advanced Energy Systems
  • Washington, DC, USA, November 15–21, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3708-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-4663-6, 0-7918-4664-4, 0-7918-4665-2
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


The major alternatives for producing work from the chemical energy of fuels include combustion systems and fuel cells. Combustion systems are subject to several performance limiting constraints. Key amongst these is the fact that combustion is an uncontrolled chemical reaction and is typically highly irreversible. The requirement to operate below the metallurgical limit adds to the irreversibility or exergy consumption in practical combustion systems. Furthermore, the use of heat exchangers, which must have finite temperature differences between fluid streams, compounds the exergy consumption. The fuel cell conversion system is a major alternative to combustion systems. It operates as a direct conversion device and is often cited as having a potential for 100% second-law efficiency. Realistically, however, the chemical reactions involved are not reversible. More importantly, the available fuel resources must be reformed to make the chemical energy of the fuel convertible to work; such processes require significant exergy input that must be factored into the determination of the overall exergy conversion efficiency attainable. This paper gives a first- and second-law analysis of the alternate systems for conversion of fuel exergy to mechanical work thus providing a more realistic comparison of the potential of both systems.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME
Topics: Fuels



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