Research is active on the application of embedded optical fiber based sensors to an operational solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) in conjunction with high-temperature stable distributed interrogation approaches to allow for local monitoring of the absolute value and spatial gradient of the chemical composition and temperature of an anode or cathode stream.
Improved efficiencies and lower emissions can be unlocked in current and future generations of fossil fuel based power plants by employing novel embedded sensor technology. These sensors must be able to operate at high temperatures and harsh conditions, and innovations in sensor packaging and design are required to address the embedded sensing needs for these challenging environments.
Advanced functional sensing materials can potentially enable novel devices with improved stability under extreme conditions. This sensor technology focuses primarily on the use of optical fiber based sensors for fuel-utilization monitoring and control in solid oxide fuel cell applications and includes sensor packaging, sensor interrogation, SOFC control methodologies, and application of optical fiber sensors.
The ability to perform real-time embedded sensing in an SOFC is important for operational monitoring and control purposes. By monitoring absolute value and spatial gradient of the gas stream composition and temperature, degradation drivers can be identified and potentially mitigated. In addition, real-time operational measurements would enable the use of active controls for optimizing fuel utilization and minimizing long-term degradation.
U.S. Patent Pending (non-provisional patent application)
Title: System and Method for Monitoring a Reactor System Using Optical Fiber-based Sensors
Inventors: Paul Ohodnicki, Kirk Gerdes, Michael Buric, Thomas Brown, Kevin Chen, Zsolt Poole
NETL Reference No: 14N-28