The conversion of biogas to electricity presents an attractive niche application for fuel cells. Thus attempts have been made to use biogas as a fuel for high temperature fuel cell systems such as SOFC. Biogas can be converted to hydrogen-rich fuel in a reforming process. For hydrocarbon-based fuel, three types of fuel conversion can be considered in reforming reactions: an external reforming system, an indirect internal reforming system and a direct internal reforming system. The possibility of using internal reforming is one of the characteristics of high temperature fuel cells like SOFC. However, for high-temperature operation, thermal management of the SOFC system becomes an important issue. To properly carry out thermal management, both detailed modeling and numerical analyses of the phenomena occurring inside the SOFC system are required. In the present work, the process of reforming biogas on a Ni/YSZ and a Ni/SDC catalyst has been numerically and experimentally investigated. Measurements including different thermal boundary conditions, steam-to-carbon ratios and several different fuel compositions were taken. A numerical model containing methane/steam reforming reaction, dry reforming reaction and shift reaction has been proposed to predict the gas mixture composition at the reformer outlet. The results of numerical computation were compared with experimental data and good agreement has been found. The results indicate the importance of combined numerical and experimental studies in the design of SOFC reformers. The combined approach used here leads to the successful prediction of the outlet gas composition for different modeling conditions.
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