Alternative Air Supply Systems Evaluated

To serve in selecting the best combination of devices for the fuel cell air supply system, a comparative evaluation was made of the alternatives cited in Table 1, applying the criteria of space occupied, weight, operating efficiency and controllability.

The comparison was made under the common condition of not controlling the turbine inlet temperature (except for the "Turbine Compressor Only" alternative). Particular weight was attached to availability of auxiliary power source to supplement compressor driving power shortage under partial load, in view of the relatively low temperature of the heat source, i.e. exhaust heat from fuel cell and from methanol reformer.

Among the alternatives evaluated, that of "Turbine Compressor with Generator-Motor" has proved to promise the highest operating efficiency, combined with compact equipment size, as noted in Table 1. It is envisaged to adopt this combination as ultimate choice of air supply system.

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