Yes correct, Keep in mind this is for the gasification process and not for the engine. For development purposes, I will use a small engine in place of the SOFC until we can afford one plus get this dialed in long before that implementation. The engine is still going to be fed atmospheric air nothing changes here, it will get a healthy dose of N2 for combustion process. The gas will just be much more potent.
I would not call an SOFC a woo woo engine. This technology has been around a long time and is cutting edge. Its nearly 4 times as efficient as the small engines I am using today. The reason its not more main stream is the infrastructure is not there to support it. I may become that infrastructure; at least for this application. This will allow for major size reductions, and will be much quieter in operation. This has the potential of being much more powerful pr size and weight along with the potential of major over all efficiency gains. The fuel cell technologies are getting down in cost and would eliminate a lot of the controls involved required for commercial available units. The challenge for me, is building a machine that is small and compact but yet it has to produce usable power. So off the shelf generators dont work. The engines need to be ramped up to produce a higher power curve to make up for the energy losses. This adds extra cost. All this if eliminated more than justifies swapping the engine out for the fuel cell. There is a ton of labor that would simply go away as the engine generators involve a bit of work to assemble, wire up, tune and control. At the end of the day I think the fuel cell will actually cost less; however, this will require additional processes in filtration as tar must never ever ever be introduced into the cell. So Im up for that challenge as well. Production turn around time should have major improvements as well.
None of this has ever been done before at least not as far as im aware of. Until something is actually built we can only speculate the outcome. Critical thinking and analysis, is great; however, this should not stop one from attempting further development. Just because some says “X” is going to happen? I would ask. How do you know for 100% certainty “X” is going to happen? How do we know that there are not other factors that could come into play. How do we know we can not correct something with a negative impact and replace it with something with a positive impact?
We have come a great distance with current technology. Whether you are a DIYer, developer, builder or manufacture we have all made great strides forward in the last 10 or so years. This has come from innovative thinking and experimentation. This has come with failure and triumph!!. However, we would have never made any of these mile stones if we did not just simply built it and perfect it.
Is current technology perfect? My answer is absolutely not not even close!! We are hardly achieving 25% efficiency to the shaft. The systems are loud, require a ton of automation to make a stand alone system run like a gasoline counter part. The user has to remove char ash daily. clean the fitlers, trouble shoot when things go wrong, operation on less automated system is not for the average Joe. etc.
For a commercial system to be viable, first is we need to get cost down, we need to be able produce faster and do so in a systematic manufacturing process. (no one to date can do this) the machines must be push button operated or at the very least as simple as a gasoline generator. The thing I hear over and over is the clients dont want to deal with the char. Some that compost want it but majority do not. The machines need to be compact for shipment, shipping cost is getting more and more expensive. This list goes on and on.