Cermet Anodes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) Systems Operating in Multiple Fuel Environments: Effects of Sulfur and Carbon Composition as well as Microstructure

Title: Cermet Anodes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) Systems Operating in Multiple Fuel Environments: Effects of Sulfur and Carbon Composition as well as Microstructure
Authors: O'Brien, Julie Suzanne
Date: 2012
Abstract: A series of cermet powders of composition NixCo(1-x)O-YSZ were synthesized for testing as cermet anode materials for SOFCs. The Co is found by powder XRD to become incorporated into the crystal lattice of the NiO, thus forming a true alloyed material. SEM and EDS results show two types of particles upon sintering to 1380oC: small, amorphous particles of YSZ and large, crystalline particles of nickel. The electrochemical oxidation of hydrogen on a cermet anode composed of Ni0.7Co0.3O-YSZ was investigated using a series of many button cells. Through EIS data, cyclic voltammetry data, the exchange current densities for these button cells were determined. Although a relatively large variation was found (expected to be due to microstructural variation) the average values for both methods of measurement is in good agreement in hydrogen. Following reduction in pure hydrogen, the fuel was changed to a mixture with high concentration of H2S. It was found that a concentration of 10 % H2S/H2 produced a sudden change in anode microstructure and resulted in loss of exchange current density. Lowering the amount of H2S in the initial fuel feed, which allowed for a more gradual microstructural change, allowed the cell to eventually function at concentrations in excess of 10 % H2S/H2. It was determined by OCV values in various concentrations of H2S/H2 that hydrogen is the predominant fuel of choice, even if H2S is available. Following electrochemical testing, slow cooling in a 10 % H2S/H2 mixture following produced metal sulfide spheres, as determined by SEM and EDS. Investigation in hydrocarbon, alcohol and biodiesel fuels was then undertaken to test the fuel variability of the given cermet anode material. Methane containing 10 % H2S was found to have increased exchange current density relative to poisoned hydrogen. Ethane and biodiesel experienced no increase in exchange current density, but a lengthening of the functional lifetime of the cell was observed, indicating reduced carbon poisoning. Methanol is a promising oxygen-containing SOFC fuel since it produced exchange current density values larger than hydrogen, and showed no evidence of coke formation by post-mortem SEM. Since oxygen-containing fuels are known to decompose in the gas phase at typical SOFC operating temperatures, the performance in a mixture of various CO/H2 fuels was then investigated. The Ni0.7Co0.3O-YSZ cermet anode gave higher exchange current density values for low ratio of CO/H2 fuels in the range 20/80 and 30/70 compared to pure H2. This is the first example of a Ni-based anode providing higher performance with a CO/H2 mixed fuel than for a pure H2 fuel. Finally, continuous running of a cell with fuel ratio 25/75 CO/H2 for 7 days produced exchange current density values, which were observed to increase significantly above the values for pure H2 during days 1-4 followed by deterioration below the value for hydrogen on subsequent days.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/20634
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -