Title of Invention

BURNER DEVICE COMPRISING A POROUS BODY

Abstract The invention relates to burner device comprising a burner chamber (26) filled at least partially by a porous body (28), an evaporation zone (12) upstream of the burner chamber (26) for evaporating liquid fuel supplied via a fuel inlet line (16), an igniter (30) for igniting a combustion mixture of evaporated liquid fuel and combustion air supplied via a combustion air inlet line (18) to the evaporation zone (12) as well as an exhaust discharge (38) downstream of the combustion chamber (26). The invention is characterized in that between the evaporation zone (14) and the combustion chamber (26) a mixing zone (20) is disposed in which fuel gas introduced via a fuel gas inlet line (22, 24) is mixed with the combustion air and/or the combustion mixture. The invention also relates to use of the burner device as an afterburner in a fuel cell stack, as well as it relating to a corresponding f.uel cell stack. FIG. 1
Full Text

Burner device comprising a porous body
The invention relates to a burner device comprising a burner chamber filled at least partially by a porous body, an evaporation zone upstream of the burner chamber for evaporating liquid fuel supplied via a fuel inlet line, an igniter for igniting a combustion mixture off ^evaporated liquid fuel and combustion air supplied via a combustion air inlet line to the evaporation zone as well as an exhaust discharge downstream of the combustion chamber.
One such burner device, also termed porous burner, is known from German patent DE 101 60 837 Al. Typical of a porous burner is its porous body, i.e. a body of porous material which fills the burner chamber at least partially. The porous material involved for such a porous body is especially a non-oxidizing material such as SiC, SiN or also high-temperature oxides such as for example A1203 or Zr02. Porous bodies are often employed to improve the emission quality of a burner device. Since a defined combustion over a large surface area is involved in the porous body, making use of a porous body achieves a stable total combustion so that the burner can work at lower temperatures which in turn reduces the Nox concentration in the exhaust gas. In addition, portions of the porous body, as disclosed for instance in the aforementioned patent, are used as a flame trap to prevent flashback to the inlet lines or into the evaporation zone. This is achieved in that a very small pore size is provided in the portion of the porous body facing the inlet line or evaporation zone so that no flame can form there. Adjoining this

small pore zone, larger pores are provided in the porous body which make for a stable flame formation, as a result of which the afore-mentioned objects of a stabilized flame formation and the flame trap are achieved. The small pore zone of the porous body results in a considerable pressure loss, however. This is why, despite the flame trap, flashback may occur especially in the instationary operating points of the burner which results in higher exhaust emissions or even the burner, or parts thereof, being ruined as a result.
Known also are porous burners for the combustion of gaseous fuels or fuel gases. Indeed, most porous burners are designed as gas burners. One example of such a gas porous burner is disclosed in German patent DE 199 60 093 Al. This gas porous burner comprises a pot-type porous body, the interior of the pot serving as the mixing zone into which a combustible gas is introduced via a fuel gas inlet line and mixed with combustion air, likewise introduced into the interior of the pot. The outer portion of the pot interior also serves as a reaction zone, i.e. combustion zone, the thickness of which can be controlled by the flow and pressure of the inlet gases. Stabilizing the flame materializing in the reaction zone is done in the porous body. Such a device is very sensitive to flashback and thus the fuel gas inlet line of the burner needs to comprise corresponding protective devices.
Porous burners for liquid fuels, on the one hand, and porous burners for fuel gases, on the other, feature completely different structures as are typically illustrated in the aforementioned patents.
The object of the present invention is to sophisticate a generic porous body so that liquid fuels and fuel gases optionally or in combination can- be fired.
This object is achieved by the features as set forth in claim 1.

Advantageous aspects and further embodiments read from the dependent claims.
The burner device in accordance with the invention is based on generic prior art in that between the evaporation zone and the combustion chamber a mixing zone is disposed (in which fuel gas introduced via a fuel gas inlet line is mixed with the combustion air and/or the combustion mixture. The gist in this arrangement is to generate in a first zone, namely the evaporation zone, a preferably ignitable combustion mixture of the liquid fuel and the combustion air which, depending on the requirement, is enriched in an adjoining mixing zone with fuel gas. The thus enriched combustion mixture is then ignited in forming in the porous body a defined and stabilized flame. It is to be noted that the term ^combustion air" in the scope of this description is to be understood in a broad context and not just an atmospheric air mixture, but any other kind of gas containing oxygen capable of forming by mixture with evaporated liquid fuel or with a fuel gas an ignitable mixture.
Preferably the evaporation zone is filled at least partially by a porous evaporator element.
Considered particularly of advantage in this context is the use of a metallic foam as the porous evaporator element, although it is just as possible to use for this purpose ceramic foams or porous solids. The large surface area of the porous evaporator element enhances evaporation of the liquid fuel. Evaporation can be further supported by preheating the evaporator element or its catalytic coating. Although it is also possible to configure the evaporation zone as an atomizer chamber, preference is given to using an evaporator element because of it being simpler to achieve technically. However, it is just as possible to supply the liquid fuel via a nozzle, i.e. without a foam filling.

In another favorable aspect of the invention it is provided for that the fuel gas inlet line is configured in the mixing zone as a tube ■with radial perforations in its tubular wall preferably closed off
at the end. Such a tube is enveloped by the flow of the combustion mixture streaming from the evaporation zone into the mixing zone achieving a particularly good mix of the fuel gas and the combustion mixture for the enrichment thereof.
Alternatively, the fuel gas inlet line may also be configured in the mixing zone as a porous ceramic body, resulting in an even better
mix of fuel gas and combustion mixture due to the larger surface area of such a ceramic body as compared to a tube with a perforated tubular wall.
The igniter for igniting the combustion mixture as may be enriched is located preferably in the combustion chamber, it protruding into the porous body as is particularly preferred. This ensures that ignition first occurs in the (enriched) combustion mixture having entered the porous body so that a flame is first formed in the porous body in preventing flashback without a special flame trap.
When the burner in accordance with the invention as described above is used in combined operation, the flame can serve liquid fuel combustion as a pilot flame for fuel gas combustion to also permit combustion of fuel gases which in a straight gas burner would be non-combustible. However, it is just as possible to use the burner in accordance with the invention with high-quality fuel gases or liquid fuels also in a straight mode as a gas or liquid fuel burner.
Preferably a controller is provided for controlling the inlet stream of fuel gas,^ liquid fuel and combustion air, each tweaked to blend
with the other. Such a controller ensures achieving permanent optimum combustion despite differing supply and quality conditions.

Since it would be highly complicated to sniff test the individual ■'components of the combustion beforehand as to their chemical properties and to set the control parameters accordingly, tweaking is closed-loop controlled in one advantageous aspect of the invention. In other words, it is provided for to control tweaking as a function of a parameter sensed by means of a sensor in the region of the exhaust discharge and/or in the combustion chamber. For this purpose a so-called lambda sensor may serve in the region of the exhaust discharge and/or a temperature sensor in the same region or in the region of the combustion chamber. This permits monitoring the combustion itself and when the sensed parameters deviate from the preset setpoint values blending of the individual combustion components can be tweaked to achieve optimum combustion.
Such a result-oriented closed-loop controlled system is particularly of"advantage when heavy fluctuations are anticipated in the available flow and/or quality of individual combustion components, as is the case, for example, when - in a particularly preferred embodiment of the invention - the burner in accordance with the invention is used as an afterburner in a fuel cell stack wherein the anode exhaust stream is fed to the fuel cell stack of the burner device as fuel gas.
Fuel cells are known devices for obtaining electrical energy in which substantially hydrogenated anode gas and oxygenated cathode gas are converted into water from catalyzed production of electrical energy in a fuel cell module. Such fuel cell arrangements usually comprise a plurality of interconnected fuel cell modules. The arrangements are termed fuel cell stacks. One problem with such fuel cell stacks is the incomplete conversion of the hydrogenated anode gas. This is why the (incomplete) anode exhaust stream is often combusted in an afterburner, the resulting heat of which is drawn off by a heat exchanger and made use of. Since, however, the degree of catalytic conversion in the fuel cell depends on its actual operating point the „quality" of the fuel gas supplied to the after-

burner greatly fluctuates, resulting in burner failure or at least less than optimum combustion quality. This problem is now eliminated by the use of the burner device in accordance with the invention as an afterburner for a fuel cell stack.
To efficiently exploit the heat resulting from combustion it is provided for preferably that the combustion chamber is in thermal contact with a heat exchanger element.
One preferred example embodiment of the invention will now be detained by way of example with reference to the drawing in which:
FIG. 1: is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of one embodiment of the fuel cell stack in accordance with the invention comprising a burner device in accordance with the invention
Referring now to FIG. 1 there is illustrated a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of a fuel cell stack comprising a fuel cell module 42 assigned a burner device 10 in accordance with the invention as an afterburner. Liquid fuel and combustion air are fed via a fuel inlet line 16 and combustion air inlet line 18 respectively into a burner device 10 preferably configured as a metallic evaporator element 14, particularly as a metallic foam. Over the surface area of the evaporator element 14, which may be catalytically coated, the supply of liquid fuel evaporates and is mixed with the combustion air.
From the evaporation zone the resulting combustion mixture flows into a mixture zone 20 into which fuel gas is introduced via a fuel gas inlet line 22 which in this case is the anode exhaust of the fuel cell module 42. In the mixture zone 20 the fuel gas inlet line 22 has preferably the form of a perforated tube or of a porous body, particularly a porous ceramic body. This end portion of the fuel gas inlet line 22 is termed fuel gas distributor 24 in the following. The fuel gas distributor 24 is enveloped in the stream of the combustion mixture from the evaporation zone, resulting in an homoge-

nous blend of fuel gas and combustion mixture, in other words, an enrichment of the combustion mixture. The (enriched) combustion mixture then flows into the combustion chamber 2 6 which in the embodiment as shown is completely filled by a porous body 28. Protruding into the porous body 2 8 is an igniter 30 which may be configured as an electrical glow pin, for example. The igniter 30 ignites the (enriched) combustion mixture having entered the porous body 28, resulting in the formation of a stabilized flame and near total combustion of the combustion mixture. In the rear portion of the combustion chamber a heat exchanger 32 is arranged, comprising, for example, a spiral tube with connections for a thermal fluid iniet line 34 and a thermal fluid outlet line 36. Thermal fluids as used in this case may be any of the known fluids such as water, glycol, thermal oils, etc, whereby, if necessary, gaseous substances, such as air may serve as the thermal transfer medium.
Connecting the rear portion of the combustion chamber 26 is an exhaust discharge 38 through which the exhaust gases of the combustion are discharged to the' exterior.
In the embodiment as shown there is provided in the region of the exhaust discharge a lambda sensor 40 with the aid of which the combustion quality can be determined by sensing certain exhaust parameters. The parameters sensed by the lambda sensor 40 can be fed into a controller 44 which tweaks blending of the combustion components liquid fuel, combustion air and fuel gas to optimize combustion in the combustion chamber 26.
It is, of course, understood that the particular description and example embodiment as shown in the drawing merely represent an illustrative embodiment of the invention which is not at all intended to be restrictive. Changes and modifications will be made by the person skilled in the art. Thus, for instance, additional or other sensors than the shown lambda sensor 40 may be used partially-icular, or even no sensor used at all. Furthermore, the special

geometrical arrangement of the individual portions of the burner is not necessarily the same as described in FIG. 1. For cooling the exhaust gases or for preheating fuel gas, liquid fuel and/or combustion air, the exhaust gas or components thereof may be returned to envelope the corresponding inlet lines 16, 18, 22, it being just as possible also to return same to the heat exchanger to improve its efficiency.
It is understood that the features of the invention as disclosed in the above description, in the drawing as well as in the claims may
be essential to achieving the invention both singly and in any combination.
List of Reference Numerals:
10 burner device
■12 evaporation zone
14 evaporator element
16 fuel inlet line
18 combustion air inlet line
20 mixing zone
22 fuel gas inlet line
24 fuel gas distributor
2 6 combustion chamber
28 porous body
30 igniter
32 heat exchanger
34 thermal fluid inlet line
36 thermal fluid outlet line
38 exhaust discharge
• 40 lambda sensor
42 fuel cell module
44 controller







CLAIMS
1. A burner device (10) comprising a burner chamber (26) filled at least partially by a porous body (28), an evaporation zone (12) upstream of the burner chamber (26) for evaporating liquid fuel supplied via a fuel inlet line (16), an igniter (30) for igniting a combustion mixture of evaporated liquid fuel and combustion air supplied via a combustion air inlet line (18) to the evaporation zone (12) as well as an exhaust discharge downstream of the combustion chamber (26), characterized in that between the evaporation zone (12) . and the combustion chamber (26) a mixing zone (20) is disposed in which fuel gas introduced via a fuel gas inlet line (22, 24) is mixed with the combustion air and/or the combustion mixture.
2. The burner device (10) as set forth in claim 1, characterized in that the evaporation zone (12) is filled at least partially by a porous evaporator element (14).
3. The burner device (10) as set forth in claim 2, characterized in that the porous evaporator element (14) is a metallic foam.
4. The burner device (10) as set forth in any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the fuel gas inlet line (22, 24) is configured in the mixing zone (20) as a tube with radial perforations in its tubular wall.
5. The burner device (10) as set forth in any of the claims 1 to 4, characterized in that the fuel gas inlet line (22, 24) is configured in the mixing zone (20) as a porous ceramic body (24).

6. The burner device (10) as set forth in any of the preceding
claims, characterized in that the igniter (30) for igniting the
combustion mixture is located preferably in the combustion chamber
(26), it protruding into the porous body (28).
7. The burner device (10) as set forth in any of the preceding
claims, characterized in that a controller {44) is provided for
controlling the inlet stream of fuel gas, liquid fuel and combustion
air each tweaked to blend with the other.
8. The burner device (10) as set forth in claim 7, characterized in that the controller (44) is suitable for controlling tweaked blending as a function of a parameter sensed by means of a sensor in the region of the exhaust discharge (38) and/or in the combustion chamber (26).
9. The burner device (10) as set forth in any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the combustion chamber (26) is in thermal contact with a heat exchanger element (32).

10. Use of the burner device (10) as set forth in any of the preceding claims as an afterburner in a fuel cell stack wherein the anode exhaust stream is fed to the fuel cell stack of the burner device (10) as fuel gas.
11. A fuel cell stack for producing electrical energy by catalytic conversion of hydrogenated anode gas and oxygenated cathode gas by at least one fuel cell module (42) wherein the anode exhaust stream is feedable to an afterburner for further combustion, characterized in that a burner device (10) as set forth in any of the claims 1 to 9 is provided as the afterburner.


Documents:

1485-CHENP-2007 ASSIGNMENT 24-09-2010.pdf

1485-chenp-2007 drawings 31-12-2010.pdf

1485-CHENP-2007 EXAMINATION REPORT REPLY RECEIVED 10-08-2010.pdf

1485-chenp-2007 form 3 10-08-2010.pdf

1485-chenp-2007 form-1 31-12-2010.pdf

1485-CHENP-2007 FORM-13 24-09-2010.pdf

1485-CHENP-2007 FORM-2 31-12-2010.pdf

1485-chenp-2007 form-6 24-09-2010.pdf

1485-CHENP-2007 OTHER PATENT DOCUMENT 10-08-2010.pdf

1485-CHENP-2007 POWER OF ATTORNEY 10-08-2010.pdf

1485-CHENP-2007 AMENDED CLAIMS 10-08-2010.pdf

1485-CHENP-2007 AMENDED PAGES OF SPECIFICATION 10-08-2010.pdf

1485-CHENP-2007 CORRESPONDENCE OTHERS 05-03-2010.pdf

1485-CHENP-2007 CORRESPONDENCE OTHERS 31-12-2010.pdf

1485-CHENP-2007 FORM-6 11-06-2008.pdf

1485-chenp-2007 power of attorney 24-09-2010.pdf

1485-chenp-2007-abstract image.jpg

1485-chenp-2007-abstract.pdf

1485-chenp-2007-claims.pdf

1485-chenp-2007-correspondnece-others.pdf

1485-chenp-2007-description(complete).pdf

1485-chenp-2007-drawings.pdf

1485-chenp-2007-form 1.pdf

1485-chenp-2007-form 3.pdf

1485-chenp-2007-form 5.pdf

1485-chenp-2007-form18.pdf

1485-chenp-2007-pct.pdf

2173-CHENP-2004 EXAMINATION REPORT REPLY RECEIVED 10-08-2010.pdf

2173-CHENP-2004 OTHER PATENT DOCUMENT 10-08-2010.pdf

2173-CHENP-2004 POWER OF ATTORNEY 10-08-2010.pdf


Patent Number 246837
Indian Patent Application Number 1485/CHENP/2007
PG Journal Number 11/2011
Publication Date 18-Mar-2011
Grant Date 16-Mar-2011
Date of Filing 12-Apr-2007
Name of Patentee WEBASTO AG
Applicant Address KRAILLINGER STRASSE 5, 82131 STOCKDORF
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 KADING, STEFAN DORFSTRASSE 47 17309 ZERRENTHIN GERMANY
2 LAWRENCE, JEREMY AUGSBURGER STRASSE 79 01277 DRESDEN GERMANY
PCT International Classification Number F23C 99/00
PCT International Application Number PCT/DE05/01820
PCT International Filing date 2005-10-11
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 102004049903.9 2004-10-13 Germany