Limited overall efficiency and excessive complexity can hinder the competitiveness of biomass gasifier solid oxide fuel cell micro combined heat and power systems. To overcome these problems, hydrocarbons direct internal reforming is analysed as a strategy to increase efficiency and reduce system complexity. To the same end, two biosyngas heating-up strategies are compared: catalytic partial oxidation and afterburner off gases utilization. A comprehensive approach combining thermodynamic equilibrium calculations, experimental measurements, and system modelling was used. The gas cleaning unit should operate at 400 °C to decrease H2S and HCl below 1 ppmv. A tar amount of 120–130 g Nm−3 dry biosyngas for woodchips and 190 g Nm−3 for straw pellets was measured and 2-methoxyphenol, hydroxyacetic acid and hydroxyacetone were selected as representative compounds. With direct internal reforming the cathode air flow rate decreases from approximately 90 kg h−1 to 60 kg h−1. This leads to an increase of around 1% point in electrical efficiency and of even 5–6% points in thermal efficiency. Direct internal tar reforming seems therefore an advantageous strategy. The catalytic partial oxidation unit increases the system overall efficiency but reduces the electric efficiency from roughly 38%–30% and is therefore not advised.
- Biomass gasifier
- Direct internal tar reforming
- High temperature gas cleaning
- Solid oxide fuel cell
- Thermodynamic analysis