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Conceptual Analysis of Air Supply Systems For In-Flight PEM-FC

[+] Author Affiliations
Lukas P. Barchewitz, Joerg R. Seume

University of Hannover, Hannover, Germany

Paper No. GT2006-90688, pp. 229-238; 10 pages
doi:10.1115/GT2006-90688
From:
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2006: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 4: Cycle Innovations; Electric Power; Industrial and Cogeneration; Manufacturing Materials and Metallurgy
  • Barcelona, Spain, May 8–11, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4239-8
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME

abstract

To cover the increasing demand of on-board electrical power and for further reduction of emissions, the conventional auxiliary power unit (APU) shall be replaced by a fuel cell system. The main components are a compressor-turbine unit, a kerosene reformer, and the fuel cell. Polymer exchange membrane fuel cells (PEM-FC) are favoured because of their currently advanced level of development. During in-flight operation, the inlet conditions of the PEM-FC system must be kept constant in order to avoid mechanical and thermal damage of the membrane and to ensure low levels of pressure fluctuations in the reformer section. A centrifugal compressor is chosen for pressurization of the system. The advantages of turbomachinery are low specific weight, high efficiency, and good controllability by inlet guide vanes and/or adjustable diffuser vanes. To drive the compressor, a radial turbine is used so that the air supply system resembles the turbocharger for a combustion engine (Fig. 1). A steady state thermodynamic evaluation of the entire system is carried out to identify an optimal system configuration that covers the large range of pressure, temperature, and humidity of ground operation of the aircraft in various regions on the earth as well as take-off, cruise, and landing. A catalytic combustion chamber is located between the PEM-FC and the radial turbine. In this combustion chamber, the hydrogen which is not used in the fuel cell is used to raise the turbine inlet temperature (TIT) and thus the mechanical power delivered by the turbine. To overcome an additional pressure loss of the reformer section, which occurs in the anode stream, an additional low-pressure-ratio compressor is used. The result is a highly thermally integrated PEM-FC system with three centrifugal turbomachines.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME

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