Performance of solid oxide fuel cells operated with coal syngas provided directly from a gasification process
Hackett GA, KR Gerdes, X Song, Y Chen, V Shutthanandan, MH Engelhard, Z Zhu, S Thevuthasan, and R Gemmen. 2012. "Performance of solid oxide fuel cells operated with coal syngas provided directly from a gasification process." Journal of Power Sources 214:142-152. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2012.04.050
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are presently being developed for gasification integrated power plants that generate electricity from coal at 50+% efficiency. The interaction of trace metals in coal syngas with the Ni-based SOFC anodes is being investigated through thermodynamic analyses and in laboratory experiments, but direct test data from coal syngas exposure are sparsely available. This research effort evaluates the significance of SOFC performance losses associated with exposure of a SOFC anode to direct coal syngas. SOFC specimen of industrially relevant composition are operated in a unique mobile test skid that was deployed to the research gasifier at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) in Wilsonville, AL. The mobile test skid interfaces with a gasifier slipstream to deliver hot syngas (up to 300°C) directly to a parallel array of 12 button cell specimen, each of which possesses an active area of approximately 2 cm2. During the 500 hour test period, all twelve cells were monitored for performance at four discrete operating current densities, and all cells maintained contact with a data acquisition system. Of these twelve, nine demonstrated good performance throughout the test, while three of the cells were partially compromised. Degradation associated with the properly functioning cells was attributed to syngas exposure and trace material attack on the anode structure that was accelerated at increasing current densities. Cells that were operated at 0 and 125 mA/cm² degraded at 9.1 and 10.7% per 1000 hours, respectively, while cells operated at 250 and 375 mA/cm² degraded at 18.9 and 16.2% per 1000 hours, respectively. Post-trial spectroscopic analysis of the anodes showed carbon, sulfur, and phosphorus deposits; no secondary Ni-metal phases were found.