This technology provides a lower-cost high-performance fuel cell that can operate at intermediate temperatures. The improved anode, cathode, and electrolyte technologies enhance SOFC performance at 500°C using methane fuel. The fuel cell design includes an anode with an optimized doped ceria catalyst that is active for wet and dry reforming of methane below 500°C that demonstrates coking stability after 200 hours of testing in 97% methane and 3% water. The cathode uses a high-performance transition metal oxide catalyst that offers dual ionic and electronic conductivity. This material is coupled with a hollow nanofiber architecture for increased catalytic activity toward the oxygen-reduction reaction. The electrolyte layer employs a dual proton/oxygen ion conductor to optimize the efficiency of the system at intermediate temperatures.
In combination, these components yield a highly efficient and durable SOFC that can operate at intermediate temperatures with potentially a 35% reduction in cost over traditional designs.
- Cost effective: Lower operating temperatures allows for use of less expensive metal components and lowers the overall fuel cell cost
- Versatile: Cell provides quiet, uninterrupted energy conversion as long as fuel is supplied
- Durable: Lower operating temperatures improve cell stability and coking resistance, allowing longer operational life
- Combined heat and power source: Fuel cell is useful for a wide range of applications where both heating and electricity generation are required
- Stationary electricity generation
- Waste heat conversion
- Combined heat and power applications (hotels, hospitals, military)
- Ancillary power unit for heavy-duty, long distance transportation
Solid oxide fuel cells offer stable, scalable, and energy-efficient power generation; however, their high operating temperatures (~1,000 °C) demand expensive structural materials, and they suffer from significant degradation over long-term use. Current efforts to reduce operating temperatures have resulted in decreased performance of the cell’s anode, cathode, and electrolyte components. Intermediate-temperature cells have also experienced significant carbon deposition, or coking, that further reduces performance. New technologies are needed to lower the cost of SOFCs while not reducing performance. This innovation from Georgia Tech and the University of Kansas meets that need.