Skip to Main Content
Recent developments in solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology have increased interest in their application toward distributed electricity generation. In addition to the demonstrated SOFC fuel-to-electricity conversion advantages over conventional generation methods, heat from SOFC exhaust can be recovered for combined heat and power (CHP) operations to improve overall system efficiency. This paper presents a system model, developed using MATLAB/Simulink, for a 1.0-MW SOFC-CHP power plant and evaluates its ability to provide electricity and hot water to a 500-home residential neighborhood more sustainably and avoiding substantial environmental emissions when compared to conventional power delivery. Actual residential electrical and hot water end-usage profiles are utilized for simulations of the SOFC-CHP plant operating interconnected with the utility power system. Results are compared to data from conventional electricity regional suppliers in the United States. The simulation findings indicate the suitability of SOFC technology with CHP for distributed generation applications, highlight unique benefits of CHP operations for the residential case, and show the functional value of SOFC-CHP technology in the broader context of energy sustainability goals while significantly reducing emissions.