Title

Mechanical and electrochemical characterization of intermediate temperature micro-tubular solid oxide fuel cell

Date of Completion

January 2007

Keywords

Engineering, Chemical|Engineering, Materials Science

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are attributed for being highly efficient in their energy conversion capabilities and fuel flexibility. The primary objective of this study was to develop an operating solid oxide fuel cell using innovative and cost-effective fabrication techniques. The secondary objective of this research aimed at improving mechanical and electrochemical properties of the cell through utilization of electrode materials characterized by different morphology. ^ The system studied was a micro-tubular, anode supported SOFC operated on both hydrogen and internally-reformed methane at the temperature range of 800-850°C. The research studied different anode poreformers and the utilization of anode powders with different morphologies. Anode supports, fabricated using an extrusion process, were based on a standard composition of 50/50 vol% of NiO/8YSZ powder. Procedures were developed to deposit a 2-5 μm thin and dense 8YSZ electrolyte film via a quick and cost-effective vacuum infiltration process. ^ Two different materials were utilized to fabricate anode supports. The first anode powder consisted of small, nano-size, particles, while the second powder was a sub-micron size powder. Vastly improved power density and redox cycling results were observed from a fuel cell fabricated using a fine powder. For example a power density of >0.5 W cm-2 at 800°C was observed. ^ The performance data of an SOFC operating on internally-reformed methane is presented. A response of the fuel cell set up using two different sealing designs, a cold-seal design and a hot-seal design, is also explained. ^ The electrochemical activity of Gd0.5Sr0.5CoO 3-x cathode fabricated using a standard glycine-nitrate pyrolysis technique and a technique allowing direct deposition of cathode material on top of electrolyte powder was tested. ^ The thesis concludes with recommendations for further work. ^