Experimental study of homogeneous charge compression ignition engine operation fuelled by emulated solid oxide fuel cell anode off-gas

Wonjae Choi, Jaehyun Kim, Yongtae Kim, Seonyeob Kim, Sechul Oh, Han Ho Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


A solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) hybrid system is a system that combines an SOFC with an additional power generation device to increase the efficiency of the system. The SOFC–gas turbine hybrid system has been primarily investigated for SOFC hybrid systems. However, the current power generation capacity of an SOFC is less than several MWs; for this generation capacity, an internal combustion engine is generally more efficient and economical than a gas turbine. Focusing on this point, recently, the concept of an SOFC–internal combustion engine hybrid system was proposed. However, the operation of this system has not been experimentally studied yet. In this paper, as the first step in an experimental investigation of the hybrid system, an experimental study on the operation of an internal combustion engine fuelled by SOFC anode off-gas was conducted. To successfully combust the SOFC anode off-gas, which includes a large amount of diluents (H2O and CO2), the homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) method was selected instead of spark ignition as the combustion strategy of the internal combustion engine in the hybrid system. For the HCCI engine experiments, a single-cylinder HCCI engine and experimental equipment for emulating SOFC anode off-gas were constructed. Various HCCI engine experiments were performed while varying several system control parameters, e.g., the fuel utilization factor of an SOFC, which primarily affects the composition and flow rate of the engine intake gas. The experiments indicated that, in general system operating condition, HCCI engine operation yields a significant amount of power (w/25–30% gross indicated efficiency) and produces significantly low NOx emissions (<5 ppm @ O2 15%) under stable HCCI combustion (<5% COV IMEPg, which is the coefficient of variance of the gross indicated mean effective pressure). Considering that the experiment was performed using a small single-cylinder engine, these experimental results reveal that the use of an HCCI engine as the bottoming cycle in an SOFC hybrid system is promising. In addition, it has been found how each system control parameter affects HCCI engine operation. It was confirmed that HCCI engine operation was not always stable in all system operating conditions. System operating conditions that induce an exceedingly low engine load (<1.8 bar IMEPg, which is the gross indicated mean effective pressure) should be avoided as it decreases the stability of engine operation. Additionally, system operating conditions that make an engine intake gas with excessive dilution (fuel molar fraction < 0.125) should be avoided to decrease the amount of unburned CO emission and maintain a CO combustion efficiency higher than 90%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-62
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for the financial support from the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology (KEIT) grant (Project No. 10082569 ) through the Seoul National University Institute of Advanced Machinery and Design (IAMD). This work was supported by the Brain Korea 21 Plus Project in 2018.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Homogeneous charge compression ignition engine
  • Solid oxide fuel cell
  • Solid oxide fuel cell anode off-gas
  • Solid oxide fuel cell hybrid system
  • Solid oxide fuel cell – internal combustion engine hybrid system


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