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International Journal of Chemical Engineering
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4596251, 14 pages
Research Article

Parametric Analysis of a High Temperature PEM Fuel Cell Based Microcogeneration System

Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Keizersgracht and Tennant Street, Zonnebloem, P.O. Box 652, Cape Town 8000, South Africa

Received 23 March 2016; Accepted 22 May 2016

Academic Editor: Deepak Kunzru

Copyright © 2016 Myalelo Nomnqa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study focuses on performance analysis of a 1  microcogeneration system based on a high temperature proton exchange membrane (HT-PEM) fuel cell by means of parametric investigation. A mathematical model for a system consisting of a fuel processor (steam reforming reactor and water-gas shift reactor), a HT-PEM fuel cell stack, and the balance-of-plant components was developed. Firstly, the fuel processor performance at different fuel ratios and equivalence ratio was examined. It is shown that high fuel ratios of 0.9–0.95 and equivalence ratios of less than 0.56 are suitable for acceptable carbon monoxide content in the synthetic gas produced. Secondly, a parametric study of the system performance at different fuel and equivalence ratios using key system operating parameters was conducted. Steam-to-carbon ratio, stack operating temperature, and anode stoichiometry were varied to observe the changes in the microcogeneration system. The analysis shows that the system can reach electrical and cogeneration efficiencies of 30% and 84%, respectively.