Electrical energy storage (EES) is an important component of the future electric grid. Given that no other widely available technology meets all the EES requirements, reversible (or regenerative) solid oxide cells (ReSOCs) working in both fuel cell (power producing) and electrolysis (fuel producing) modes are envisioned as a technology capable of providing highly efficient and cost-effective EES. However, there are still many challenges from cell materials development to system level operation of ReSOCs that should be addressed before widespread application. One particular challenge of this novel system is establishing effective thermal management strategies to maintain the high conversion efficiency of the ReSOC. The system presented in this paper employs a thermal management strategy of promoting exothermic methanation in the ReSOC stack to offset the endothermic electrolysis reactions during charging mode (fuel producing) while also enhancing the energy density of the stored gases. Modeling and parametric analysis of an energy storage concept is performed using a thermodynamic system model coupled with a physically based ReSOC stack model. Results indicate that roundtrip efficiencies greater than 70% can be achieved at intermediate stack temperature (∼680°C) and pressure (∼20 bar). The optimal operating conditions result from a tradeoff between high stack efficiency and high parasitic balance of plant power.

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