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Combustor air flow control method for fuel cell apparatus

United States Patent

October 23, 2001
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
A method for controlling the heat output of a combustor in a fuel cell apparatus to a fuel processor where the combustor has dual air inlet streams including atmospheric air and fuel cell cathode effluent containing oxygen depleted air. In all operating modes, an enthalpy balance is provided by regulating the quantity of the air flow stream to the combustor to support fuel cell processor heat requirements. A control provides a quick fast forward change in an air valve orifice cross section in response to a calculated predetermined air flow, the molar constituents of the air stream to the combustor, the pressure drop across the air valve, and a look up table of the orifice cross sectional area and valve steps. A feedback loop fine tunes any error between the measured air flow to the combustor and the predetermined air flow.
Clingerman; Bruce J. (Palmyra, NY), Mowery; Kenneth D. (Noblesville, IN), Ripley; Eugene V. (Russiaville, IN)
General Motors Corporation (Detroit, MI)
09/ 565,781
May 5, 2000
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT The Government of the United States of America has right in this invention pursuant to Agreement No. DE-AC02-90CH10435 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.