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1. WO2020068485 - FUEL CELL SYSTEM INCLUDING SULFUR OXIDATION SUBSYSTEM AND METHOD OF OPERATING THE SAME

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[ EN ]

CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A fuel cell system comprising:

a first fuel conduit configured to receive fuel from a fuel source;

a reactor fluidly connected to the first fuel conduit and configured to selectively oxidize sulfur species in fuel received from the first fuel conduit; and

fuel cells configured to generate power using fuel containing oxidized sulfur species received from the reactor.

2. The system of claim 1, further comprising a blower configured to inject air into fuel provided to the reactor, wherein:

the reactor comprises a catalyst configured to selectively catalyze an oxidation reaction between the injected air and the sulfur species; and

the reactor is configured to heat fuel received from the fuel conduit using at least one exhaust stream from the fuel cells.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein the reactor comprises a heat exchanger configured to heat to the fuel received from the fuel conduit using at least one exhaust stream from the fuel cells which does not mix with the fuel in the heat exchanger.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein the reactor further comprises a trim heater configured to increase the temperature of fuel heated by the heat exchanger.

5. The system of claim 3, further comprising:

a cathode recuperator heat exchanger configured to heat air provided to the fuel cells using cathode exhaust emitted from the fuel cells; and

a cathode exhaust conduit configured to provide the cathode exhaust from the cathode recuperator to the reactor to heat the fuel.

6. The system of claim 3, further comprising:

an anode tail gas oxidizer (ATO) configured to oxidize fuel exhaust from the fuel cells using cathode exhaust emitted from the fuel cells; and

an ATO exhaust conduit configured to provide ATO exhaust from the ATO to the reactor to heat the fuel.

7. The system of claim 3, further comprising:

an anode recuperator configured to heat fuel provided to the fuel cells using anode exhaust emitted from the fuel cells; and

an anode exhaust conduit configured to provide the anode exhaust from the anode recuperator to the reactor.

8. The system of claim 1, further comprising:

a blower configured to inject air into fuel provided to the reactor; and

an ozone generator configured to convert some or all of the oxygen in the air into ozone prior to the injection of the air into the fuel.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein the fuel provided to the reactor by the fuel conduit does not first pass through a sorbent bed configured to adsorb sulfur species from the fuel.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein the reactor comprises:

opposing first and second plates; and

a voltage source configured to apply a voltage potential between the first and second plates,

wherein the reactor is configured to oxidize sulfur species in fuel flowing between the first and second plates.

11. The system of claim 1 , wherein the reactor comprises first and second electrochemical beds configured to adsorb sulfur species in a first mode from the fuel passing through the reactor and to actively oxidize the adsorbed sulfur species in a second mode.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein:

the reactor further comprises a valve fluidly connected to the first and second beds, the valve having a first position where the valve directs fuel into the first bed and not the second bed, and a second position where the valve directs fuel into the second bed and not the first bed; and

in the second mode, the first and second beds are configured to electrochemically pump oxygen anions towards the adsorbed sulfur species.

13. The system of claim 12, wherein the valve comprises a three-way valve or the valve comprises multiple two-way valves.

14. The system of claim 1, wherein:

the fuel cells comprise solid oxide fuel cells disposed in a stack;

the system comprises a hot box in which the stack is disposed; and

the first fuel line is disposed inside the hotbox, such that heat from the hot box is transferred to fuel in the first fuel line.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein the first fuel line is disposed within insulation disposed inside the hot box.

16. The system of claim 1, further comprising:

a second fuel line configured to bypass the reactor;

a valve configured to control fuel flow through the first and second fuel lines; and a controller configured to control the valve, such that fuel flows through the second fuel line and bypasses the first fuel line when a temperature of the fuel cell stack is less than about 600°C.

17. The system of claim 1, wherein:

the fuel cells comprise solid oxide fuel cells disposed in a stack;

the reactor is configured to oxidize the sulfur species into SC , SCb, or a combination thereof; and

the system is configured to provide fuel containing the SO2, SO3, or a combination thereof to the stack.

18. A method of operation a fuel cell system, comprising:

oxidizing sulfur species included in a fuel inlet stream provided to the fuel cell system; and

providing the fuel inlet stream including the oxidized sulfur species to fuel cells to generate power.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein:

the fuel comprises natural gas;

the sulfur species comprise H2S, C4H10S, C4H8S, C2H6S, or any combination thereof; the oxidized sulfur species comprise SO2, SO3, or a combination thereof; and oxidizing the sulfur species comprises using a reactor comprising a sulfur oxidization catalyst.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising providing air into the reactor and heating the reactor using at least one exhaust stream from the fuel cells.