Novel Sulfur-Tolerant Anodes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

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One of the unique advantages of SOFCs over other types of fuel cells is the potential for direct utilization of hydrocarbon fuels (it may involve internal reforming). Unfortunately, most hydrocarbon fuels contain sulfur, which would dramatically degrade SOFC performance at parts-per-million (ppm) levels. Low concentration of sulfur (ppm or below) is difficult to remove efficiently and cost-effectively. Therefore, knowing the exact poisoning process for state-of-the-art anode-supported SOFCs with Ni-YSZ cermet anodes, understanding the detailed anode poisoning mechanism, and developing new sulfur-tolerant anodes are essential to the promotion of SOFCs that run on hydrocarbon fuels. The effect of cell operating conditions ... continued below

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Yang, Lei & Liu, Meilin December 31, 2008.

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One of the unique advantages of SOFCs over other types of fuel cells is the potential for direct utilization of hydrocarbon fuels (it may involve internal reforming). Unfortunately, most hydrocarbon fuels contain sulfur, which would dramatically degrade SOFC performance at parts-per-million (ppm) levels. Low concentration of sulfur (ppm or below) is difficult to remove efficiently and cost-effectively. Therefore, knowing the exact poisoning process for state-of-the-art anode-supported SOFCs with Ni-YSZ cermet anodes, understanding the detailed anode poisoning mechanism, and developing new sulfur-tolerant anodes are essential to the promotion of SOFCs that run on hydrocarbon fuels. The effect of cell operating conditions (including temperature, H{sub 2}S concentration, cell voltage/current density, etc.) on sulfur poisoning and recovery of nickel-based anode in SOFCs was investigated. It was found that sulfur poisoning is more severe at lower temperature, higher H{sub 2}S concentration or lower cell current density (higher cell voltage). In-situ Raman spectroscopy identified the nickel sulfide formation process on the surface of a Ni-YSZ electrode and the corresponding morphology change as the sample was cooled in H{sub 2}S-containing fuel. Quantum chemical calculations predicted a new S-Ni phase diagram with a region of sulfur adsorption on Ni surfaces, corresponding to sulfur poisoning of Ni-YSZ anodes under typical SOFC operating conditions. Further, quantum chemical calculations were used to predict the adsorption energy and bond length for sulfur and hydrogen atoms on various metal surfaces. Surface modification of Ni-YSZ anode by thin Nb{sub 2}O{sub 5} coating was utilized to enhance the sulfur tolerance. A multi-cell testing system was designed and constructed which is capable of simultaneously performing electrochemical tests of 12 button cells in fuels with four different concentrations of H{sub 2}S. Through systematical study of state-of-the-art anode-supported SOFC button cells, it is seen that the long-term sulfur poisoning behavior of those cells indicate that there might be a second-stage slower degradation due to sulfur poisoning, which would last for a thousand hour or even longer. However, when using G-18 sealant from PNNL, the 2nd stage poisoning was effectively prohibited.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-04NT42219
  • DOI: 10.2172/957506 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 957506
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc927616

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  • December 31, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 30, 2016, 1:18 p.m.

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Yang, Lei & Liu, Meilin. Novel Sulfur-Tolerant Anodes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, report, December 31, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc927616/: accessed July 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.