Lattice Boltzmann Modeling of Methane Steam Reforming Reactions in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Babol Noshirvani University of Technology, Babol, Iran

2 Renewable Energy Department, Niroo Research Institute (NRI), Tehran, Iran



The present study evaluated the rate of methane steam reforming (MSR) in a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). In this regard, a numerical model is applied to investage the effects of different parameters on the reactants concentration and temperature distributions in the SOFCs. The developed model is based on the Lattice Boltzmann method (D2Q9) and validated with experimental results. Parametric effects, including current density, anode porosity, steam to carbon ratio (S/C), and Reynolds number of the inlet flow in the anode channel, are surveyed as a new parameter. Also, the results of reactant concentrations are illustrated in two-dimensions. These results showed that the porosity and Reynolds number of flow have the lowest and highest impact on the reaction rate of MSR, respectively. The lowest MSR rate at the center of the SOFC happened when the Reynolds number of the input flow equals 5, and the highest MSR rate occured when the Reynolds number is 15 or the steam to carbon ratio equaled to 1.


Main Subjects

[1]      Xinhai X, Peiwen L, Yuesong S. Small-scale reforming of diesel and jet fuels to make hydrogen and syngas for fuel cells: A review. Appl Energy 2013;108:202–17.
[2]      Lin J, Trabold TA, Walluk MR, Smith DF. Autothermal reforming of biodiesel-ethanol-diesel blends for solid oxide fuel cell applications. Energy and Fuels 2013;27:4371–85.
[3]      Boaro M, Aricò AS. Advances in Medium and High Temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Technology. CISM Int Cent Mech Sci Courses Lect 2017;574:119–53.
[4]      Kendall K, Kendall M. High-Temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cells for the 21st Century: Fundamentals, Design and Applications: Second Edition. 2015.
[5]      Song C. Fuel processing for low-temperature and high-temperature fuel cells: Challenges, and opportunities for sustainable development in the 21st century. Catal Today 2002;77:17–49.
[6]      Krumpelt M, Krause TR, Carter JD, Kopasz JP, Ahmed S. Fuel processing for fuel cell systems in transportation and portable power applications. Catal Today 2002;77:3–16.
[7]      Takeguchi T, Kani Y, Yano T, Kikuchi R, Eguchi K, Tsujimoto K, et al. Study on steam reforming of CH4 and C2 hydrocarbons and carbon deposition on Ni-YSZ cermets. J Power Sources 2002;112:588–95.
[8]      Abdenebi H, Zitouni B, Ben Moussa H, Haddad D. Thermal field in SOFC fed by CH4: Molar fractions effect. J Assoc Arab Univ Basic Appl Sci 2015;17:82–9.
[9]      Lanzini A, Leone P. Experimental investigation of direct internal reforming of biogas in solid oxide fuel cells. Int J Hydrogen Energy 2010;35:2463–76.
[10]    Mogensen D, Grunwaldt JD, Hendriksen P V., Dam-Johansen K, Nielsen JU. Internal steam reforming in solid oxide fuel cells: Status and opportunities of kinetic studies and their impact on modelling. J Power Sources 2011;196:25–38.
[11]    Thallam Thattai A, van Biert L, Aravind P V. On direct internal methane steam reforming kinetics in operating solid oxide fuel cells with nickel-ceria anodes. J Power Sources 2017;370:71–86.
[12]    Park K, Lee S, Bae G, Bae J. Performance analysis of Cu, Sn and Rh impregnated NiO/CGO91 anode for butane internal reforming SOFC at intermediate temperature. Renew Energy 2015;83:483–90.
[13]    Sohn S, Baek SM, Nam JH, Kim CJ. Two-dimensional micro/macroscale model for intermediate-temperature solid oxide fuel cells considering the direct internal reforming of methane. Int J Hydrogen Energy 2016;41:5582–97.
[14]    Schluckner C, Subotić V, Lawlor V, Hochenauer C. Three-dimensional numerical and experimental investigation of an industrial-sized SOFC fueled by diesel reformat - Part I: Creation of a base model for further carbon deposition modeling. Int J Hydrogen Energy 2014;39:19102–18.
[15]    Farnak M, Esfahani JA, Bozorgmehri S. An experimental design of the solid oxide fuel cell performance by using partially oxidation reforming of natural gas. Renew Energy 2020;147:155–63.
[16]    Fan L, Van Biert L, Thallam Thattai A, Verkooijen AHM, Aravind P V. Study of Methane Steam Reforming kinetics in operating Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: Influence of current density. Int J Hydrogen Energy 2015;40:5150–9.
[17]    Park J, Li P, Bae J. Analysis of chemical, electrochemical reactions and thermo-fluid flow in methane-feed internal reforming SOFCs: Part II-temperature effect. Int J Hydrogen Energy 2012;37:8532–55.
[18]    Ahmed K, Fӧger K. Analysis of equilibrium and kinetic models of internal reforming on solid oxide fuel cell anodes: Effect on voltage, current and temperature distribution. J Power Sources 2017;343:83–93.
[19]    Chalusiak M, Wrobel M, Mozdzierz M, Berent K, Szmyd JS, Kimijima S, et al. A numerical analysis of unsteady transport phenomena in a Direct Internal Reforming Solid Oxide Fuel Cell. Int J Heat Mass Transf 2019;131:1032–51.
[20]    van Biert L, Godjevac M, Visser K, Aravind P V. Dynamic modelling of a direct internal reforming solid oxide fuel cell stack based on single cell experiments. Appl Energy 2019;250:976–90.
[21]    Wang S, Worek WM, Minkowycz WJ. Performance comparison of the mass transfer models with internal reforming for solid oxide fuel cell anodes. Int J Heat Mass Transf 2012;55:3933–45.
[22]    Joshi AS, Grew KN, Peracchio AA, Chiu WKS. Lattice Boltzmann modeling of 2D gas transport in a solid oxide fuel cell anode. J Power Sources 2007;164:631–8.
[23]    Xu H, Dang Z, Bai BF. Numerical simulation of multispecies mass transfer in a SOFC electrodes layer using lattice boltzmann method. J Fuel Cell Sci Technol 2012;9.
[24]    Paradis H, Andersson M, Sundén B. Lattice Boltzmann modeling of advection-diffusion transport with electrochemical reactions in a porous SOFC anode structure. Int. Conf. Fuel Cell Sci. Eng. Technol., vol. 55522, 2013, p. V001T02A002.
[25]    Joshi AS, Grew KN, Izzo JR, Peracchio AA, Chiu WKS. Lattice Boltzmann Modeling of three-dimensional, Multi-Component Mass Diffusion in a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Anode. J Fuel Cell Sci Technol 2010;7:0110061–8.
[26]    Paradis H, Sundén B. Evaluation of lattice boltzmann method for reaction-diffusion process in a porous SOFC anode microstructure. ASME 2012 10th Int Conf Nanochannels, Microchannels, Minichannels Collocated with ASME 2012 Heat Transf Summer Conf ASME 2012 Fluids Eng Div Sum, ICNMM 2012 2012:163–71.
[28]    Xu H, Dang Z. Lattice Boltzmann modeling of carbon deposition in porous anode of a solid oxide fuel cell with internal reforming. Appl Energy 2016;178:294–307.
[29]    Xu H, Dang Z, Bai BF. Electrochemical performance study of solid oxide fuel cell using lattice Boltzmann method. Energy 2014;67:575–83.
[30]    Yahya A, Rabhi R, Dhahri H, Slimi K. Numerical simulation of temperature distribution in a planar solid oxide fuel cell using lattice Boltzmann method. Powder Technol 2018;338:402–15.
[31]    Chiu WKS, Joshi AS, Grew KN. Lattice Boltzmann model for multi-component mass transfer in a solid oxide fuel cell anode with heterogeneous internal reformation and electrochemistry. Eur Phys J Spec Top 2009;171:159–65.
[32]    Delavar MA, Farhadi M, Sedighi K. Numerical simulation of direct methanol fuel cells using lattice Boltzmann method. Int J Hydrogen Energy 2010;35:9306–17.
[33]    Ajarostaghi SSM, Delavar MA, Poncet S. Thermal mixing, cooling and entropy generation in a micromixer with a porous zone by the lattice Boltzmann method. J Therm Anal Calorim 2020;140:1321–39.
[34]    Mehrizi AA, Farhadi M, Sedighi K, Delavar MA. Effect of fin position and porosity on heat transfer improvement in a plate porous media heat exchanger. J Taiwan Inst Chem Eng 2013;44:420–31.
[35]    Ivanov P. Thermodynamic modeling of the power plant based on the SOFC with internal steam reforming of methane. Electrochim Acta 2007;52:3921–8.
[36]    Brus G, Szmyd JS. Numerical modelling of radiative heat transfer in an internal indirect reforming-type SOFC. J Power Sources 2008;181:8–16.
[37]    Wang Y, Zhan R, Qin Y, Zhang G, Du Q, Jiao K. Three-dimensional modeling of pressure effect on operating characteristics and performance of solid oxide fuel cell. Int J Hydrogen Energy 2018;43:20059–76.
[38]    Poling BE, Prausnitz JM, O’connell JP, others. The properties of gases and liquids. vol. 5. Mcgraw-hill New York; 2001.
[39]    Aydın Ö, Kubota A, Tran DL, Sakamoto M, Shiratori Y. Designing graded catalytic domain to homogenize temperature distribution while dry reforming of CH4. Int J Hydrogen Energy 2018;43:17431–43.
[40]    Albrecht KJ, Braun RJ. The effect of coupled mass transport and internal reforming on modeling of solid oxide fuel cells part I: Channel-level model development and steady-state comparison. J Power Sources 2016;304:384–401.
[41]    Hajimolana SA, Hussain MA, Daud WMAW, Soroush M, Shamiri A. Mathematical modeling of solid oxide fuel cells: A review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 2011;15:1893–917.
[42]    Mohamad AA. Lattice Boltzmann Method. vol. 70. Springer; 2011.
[43]    Sabri E. Fluid flow through packed columns. Chem Eng Prog 1952;48:89–94.
[44]    Ni M. Modeling of SOFC running on partially pre-reformed gas mixture. Int J Hydrogen Energy 2012;37:1731–45.
[45]    Ni M, Leung MKH, Leung DYC. Parametric study of solid oxide fuel cell performance. Energy Convers Manag 2007;48:1525–35.
[46]    Menon V, Banerjee A, Dailly J, Deutschmann O. Numerical analysis of mass and heat transport in proton-conducting SOFCs with direct internal reforming. Appl Energy 2015;149:161–75.
[47]    Bove R, Ubertini S. Modeling solid oxide fuel cells: methods, procedures and techniques. Springer Science & Business Media; 2008.
[48]    Chan SH, Khor KA, Xia ZT. Complete polarization model of a solid oxide fuel cell and its sensitivity to the change of cell component thickness. J Power Sources 2001;93:130–40.
[49]    Hernández-Pacheco E, Singh D, Hutton PN, Patel N, Mann MD. A macro-level model for determining the performance characteristics of solid oxide fuel cells. J Power Sources 2004;138:174–86.
[50]    Ni M, Leung DYC, Leung MKH. Modeling of methane fed solid oxide fuel cells: Comparison between proton conducting electrolyte and oxygen ion conducting electrolyte. J Power Sources 2008;183:133–42.