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1. WO2017180872 - FUEL CELL SYSTEM WITH COMBINED PASSIVE AND ACTIVE SORBENT BEDS

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS:

1. A fuel cell system comprising:

a hydrocarbon fuel stream comprising a sulfur compound;

a passive sorbent bed comprising at least one selective sulfur sorbent configured to remove the sulfur compound from the hydrocarbon fuel stream to form a first desulfurized hydrocarbon stream, wherein the system is configured such that the hydrocarbon fuel stream passes through the passive sorbent bed along a first flow pathway and does not pass through the passive sorbent bed along a second flow pathway, wherein the system is configured such that the hydrocarbon fuel stream is selectively directed along at least one of the first flow pathway or the second flow pathway;

an oxidant stream, wherein the system is configured such that the oxidant stream mixes with at least one of the hydrocarbon fuel stream from the second flow pathway or the first desulfurized hydrocarbon stream from the first flow pathway;

a heating module configured to heat the mixed oxidant and at least one of the hydrocarbon fuel or first desulfurized hydrocarbon streams to a temperature greater than about 150 degrees Celsius;

a selective catalytic sulfur oxidation (SCSO) reactor comprising at least one sulfur oxidation catalyst, wherein the selective catalytic sulfur oxidation reactor is configured to receive and contact the heated mixture of the oxidant stream and the at least one of the hydrocarbon fuel stream or the first desulfurized hydrocarbon fuel stream with the at least one sulfur oxidation catalyst, wherein the at least one sulfur oxidation catalyst is configured to oxidize at least one sulfur-containing compound in the received stream to form an SCSO effluent stream including sulfur oxides;

an active sorbent bed comprising a sulfur oxide sorbent, wherein the active sorbet bed is configured to receive the SCSO effluent stream from the SCSO reactor and remove at least a portion of the sulfur oxides via the sulfur oxide sorbent to form a second desulfurized hydrocarbon stream, and

a solid oxide fuel cell including at least one electrochemical cell, wherein the solid oxide fuel cell is configured to receive at least a portion of the second desulfurized hydrocarbon stream as a fuel source.

2. The fuel cell system of claim 1, wherein the system is configured such that at least a first portion of the first desulfurized hydrocarbon stream from the first flow pathway does not flow through the SCSO reactor.

3. The fuel cell system of claim 2, wherein the first portion of desulfurized hydrocarbon stream does not pass through the solid oxide fuel cell.

4. The fuel cell system of claim 2, wherein the first portion of desulfurized hydrocarbon stream is supplied to the solid oxide fuel cell as the fuel source.

5. The fuel cell system of claim 1, wherein the system is configured such that substantially all of the hydrocarbon fuel stream is directed along the second flow pathway such that the substantially all of the hydrocarbon fuel stream does not pass through the passive sorbent bed when the SCSO reaches a threshold operating temperature.

6. The fuel cell system of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the second desulfurized hydrocarbon stream does not pass through the solid oxide fuel cell.

7. The fuel cell system of claim 1, wherein the hydrocarbon fuel stream comprises natural gas, and wherein the natural gas includes the sulfur compound.

8. The fuel cell system of claim 1, wherein the oxidant input comprises air.

9. The fuel cell system of claim 1, wherein the active sorbent bed comprises a first layer of sulfur oxide sorbent and second layer of sulfur oxide sorbent, wherein the second layer is downstream from the first layer in the sorbent bed, wherein the first layer includes a sulfur oxide sorbent having a preferential affinity for sulfur trioxide, and wherein the second layer comprises a sulfur oxide sorbent having a preferential affinity for sulfur dioxide.

10. The fuel cell system of claim 1, wherein the active sorbent bed comprises a third layer of sulfur oxide sorbent and fourth layer of sulfur oxide sorbent downstream of the first and second layer, wherein the fourth layer is downstream from the third layer in the sorbent bed, wherein the third layer includes the sulfur oxide sorbent having the preferential affinity for sulfur trioxide, and wherein the fourth layer comprises the sulfur oxide sorbent having the preferential affinity for sulfur dioxide.

11. The fuel cell system of claim 1, wherein the heating module is configured to heat the mixed oxidant and the at least one of the hydrocarbon fuel or first desulfurized hydrocarbon streams to the temperature of about 250 degrees Celsius and about 350 degrees Celsius.

12. A method for operating a fuel cell system, the fuel cell system comprising: a hydrocarbon fuel stream comprising a sulfur compound;

a passive sorbent bed comprising at least one selective sulfur sorbent configured to remove the sulfur compound from the hydrocarbon fuel stream to form a first desulfurized hydrocarbon stream, wherein the system is configured such that the hydrocarbon fuel stream passes through the passive sorbent bed along a first flow pathway and does not pass through the passive sorbent bed along a second flow pathway, wherein the system is configured such that the hydrocarbon fuel stream is selectively directed along at least one of the first flow pathway or the second flow pathway;

an oxidant stream, wherein the system is configured such that the oxidant stream mixes with at least one of the hydrocarbon fuel stream from the second flow pathway or the first desulfurized hydrocarbon stream from the first flow pathway;

a heating module configured to heat the mixed oxidant and at least one of the hydrocarbon fuel and first desulfurized hydrocarbon streams to a temperature greater than about 150 degrees Celsius;

a selective catalytic sulfur oxidation (SCSO) reactor comprising at least one sulfur oxidation catalyst, wherein the selective catalytic sulfur oxidation reactor is configured to receive and contact the heated mixture of the oxidant stream and the at least one of the hydrocarbon fuel stream or the first desulfurized hydrocarbon fuel stream with the at least one sulfur oxidation catalyst, wherein the at least one sulfur oxidation catalyst is configured to oxidize at least one sulfur-containing compound in the received stream to form an SCSO effluent stream including sulfur oxides;

an active sorbent bed comprising a sulfur oxide sorbent, wherein the active sorbet bed is configured to receive the SCSO effluent stream from the SCSO reactor and remove at least a portion of the sulfur oxides via the sulfur oxide sorbent to form a second desulfurized hydrocarbon stream, and

a solid oxide fuel cell including at least one electrochemical cell, wherein the solid oxide fuel cell is configured to receive at least a portion of the second desulfurized hydrocarbon stream as a fuel source, the method comprising:

directing the hydrocarbon fuel stream along the first flow pathway during a first time period; and

directing the hydrocarbon fuel stream along the second flow pathway during a second time period different from the first time period.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the system is configured such that at least a first portion of the first desulfurized hydrocarbon stream from the first flow pathway does not flow through the SCSO reactor during the first time period

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the first portion of desulfurized hydrocarbon stream does not pass through the solid oxide fuel cell.

15. The method of claim 13, wherein the first portion of desulfurized hydrocarbon stream is supplied to the solid oxide fuel cell as the fuel source.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein the system is configured such that substantially all of the hydrocarbon fuel stream is directed along the second flow pathway during the second time period such that the substantially all of the hydrocarbon fuel stream does not pass through the passive sorbent bed when the SCSO reaches a threshold operating temperature.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein at least a portion of the second desulfurized hydrocarbon stream does not pass through the solid oxide fuel cell.

18. The method of claim 12, wherein the hydrocarbon fuel stream comprises natural gas, and wherein the natural gas includes the sulfur compound.

19. The method of claim 12, wherein the oxidant input comprises air.

20. The method of claim 12, wherein the active sorbent bed comprises a first layer of sulfur oxide sorbent and second layer of sulfur oxide sorbent, wherein the second layer is downstream from the first layer in the sorbent bed, wherein the first layer includes a sulfur oxide sorbent having a preferential affinity for sulfur trioxide, and wherein the second layer comprises a sulfur oxide sorbent having a preferential affinity for sulfur dioxide.

21. The method of claim 12, wherein the active sorbent bed comprises a third layer of sulfur oxide sorbent and fourth layer of sulfur oxide sorbent downstream of the first and second layer, wherein the fourth layer is downstream from the third layer in the sorbent bed, wherein the third layer includes the sulfur oxide sorbent having the preferential affinity for sulfur trioxide, and wherein the fourth layer comprises the sulfur oxide sorbent having the preferential affinity for sulfur dioxide.

22. The method of claim 12, wherein the heating module is configured to heat the mixed oxidant and the at least one of the hydrocarbon fuel or first desulfurized hydrocarbon streams to the temperature of about 250 degrees Celsius and about 350 degrees Celsius.

23. The method of claim 12, wherein the first time period is before the second time period.

24. The method of claim 12, wherein the second time period is before the first time period.