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Initial Assessment of a Fuel Cell—Gas Turbine Hybrid Propulsion Concept


A fuel cell—gas turbine hybrid propulsion concept is introduced and initially assessed. The concept uses the water mass flow produced by a hydrogen fuel cell in order to improve the efficiency and power output of the gas turbine engine through burner steam injection. Therefore, the fuel cell product water is conditioned through a process of condensation, pressurization and revaporization. The vaporization uses the waste heat of the gas turbine exhaust. The functional principles of the system concept are introduced and discussed, and appropriate methodology for an initial concept evaluation is formulated. Essential technology fields are surveyed in brief. The impact of burner steam injection on gas turbine efficiency and sizing is parametrically modelled. Simplified parametric models of the fuel cell system and key components of the water treatment process are presented. Fuel cell stack efficiency and specific power levels are methodically derived from latest experimental studies at the laboratory scale. The overall concept is assessed for a liquid hydrogen fueled short-/medium range aircraft application. Block fuel savings of up to 7.1% are found for an optimum design case based on solid oxide fuel cell technology. The optimum design features a gas turbine water-to-air ratio of 6.1% in cruise and 62% reduced high-level NOx emissions.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Germany

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