Control of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Power Plant in a Grid-Connected System
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The fastest and yet most prudent ways of changing the output power level of a solid oxide fuel cell power plant connected to the ac-grid are explored. The operating state of the fuel cell power plant is examined in term of the concept of feasible operating area of a cell. The utilization factor of the cell stack is maintained constant in steady-state by feeding natural gas to the fuel processor at a rate proportional to the current drawn from the stack. The fluctuations of the utilization factor in the transient state due to a change in operating power level can be constrained to the allowable range by strategically controlling the current drawn by the power conditioning unit. Based on measured variables and dynamic characteristics of the fuel processor, four strategies of controlling current are compared to arrive at the strategy that results in minimum transient time for a given power change. The proposed control schemes are verified through computer simulations.
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