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WIREs Energy Environ.
Impact Factor: 3.297

Recent developments in metal‐supported solid oxide fuel cells

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Metal‐supported solid oxide fuel cells (MSCs) offer certain strategic advantages over the more conventional solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), which comprise only ceramic materials. Since alloys such as ferritic steels are very similar in their coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) with ceramic components, viz., cerias, zirconias, and nickel oxide doped with either of them, they could provide excellent thermal cyclability while maintaining a strong interlayer bond. Therefore, in an anode‐supported cell the entire NiO‐ceramic support can be replaced by a ferritic steel porous support—the catalytically active NiO is therefore, a functional layer only. A huge savings in materials cost is achievable, because cerias and zirconias [usually doped with Y, Gd, Sm rare earth (RE) elements] are considerably more expensive that ferritic steels. Lowering the capital costs for SOFCs is an extensive global undertaking with US Department of Energy (DOE) laying down targets such as ~$ 200/kW for the stack itself, in order for SOFCs to become competitive with grid power costs and to offer a power source that promises 24 × 7 power supply for critical applications. This will eventually lead to a premier electricity generation device in the distributed power space, with the highest known electrical efficiencies (>50%). MSCs need very robust, high precision, and cost‐effective manufacturing techniques, which are scalable to high volumes. One of the main goals in this review is to showcase some of the work done in this area since the last review (2010), and to assess the technology challenges, and new solutions that have emerged over the past few years. WIREs Energy Environ 2017, 6:e246. doi: 10.1002/wene.246 This article is categorized under: Fuel Cells and Hydrogen > Science and Materials
Schematic of cell architecture, LBNL work.
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Microstructures of unsintered cathodes with buffer layer.
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Performance of unsintered and sintered cathode (BSCF) with unsintered and sintered barrier layer (GDC).
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Microstructure showing functional and support layers for Ni‐Al supported SOFC.
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Performance curves of button cells made from Ni‐Al support in hydrogen.
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SEM of cut cross‐section: (a) no rare‐earth infiltration; (b) Y‐infiltrated; (c) Gd‐infiltrated samples (1000 h, and 700°C).
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Electrical conductivity for SS430L, after oxidation over several hours.
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Mass gain in humidified H2, with time (function of presintering temperature).
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ASR for key alloys as a function of air oxidation.
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ITM versus Crofer ICs: ‘breakaway’ oxidation.
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ASR tests on Crofer and ITM alloys.
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I–V curves showing the effect of types of plasma deposition of anodes on performance.
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(a) Evolution of OCV over time, using refinements in APS; (b) recent cell performance (2013) of cells fabricated by APS (OCV = 1.09 V, at 750°C).
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SEM micrographs for Ni‐YSZ/YSZ/LSCF‐SDC cells, where anode, electrolyte, and cathodes were deposited by atmospheric plasma spray technique.
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Tubular metal‐supported cell data, I–V curves (Ramses Project).
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Half‐cell architecture developed in the METSAPP program.
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Average voltage per cell in an MSC stack; sample period of 150 h at 700°C and 230 mA/cm2.
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I–V characteristics at 700°C (average voltage/cell vs current density; total power from stack vs current density).
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I–V curves for anode electrocatalysts (Ni‐CGO); fuel used is 96% hydrogen with 4% moisture, and air on the cathode side; T = 650°C.
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Half‐cell (without cathode and barrier layer) cross‐section (BSE image) shows the infiltrated electrocatalysts nanoparticles, with a higher concentration of nanoparticles closer to the support–electrolyte interface; electrolyte thickness is about 12–13 µm.
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Performances of advanced metal‐supported cells—nongraphitic cells with LSCF and advanced anode structure show the highest performances (reproduced with permission).
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Testing MSC standard cells with diesel reformate gas using anode recycle configuration.
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Microstructure of Gen B Cell, in the region around the electrolyte—showing thin dense phase.
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Manufacturing cycle developed by the Plansee Consortium.
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Different cell configurations of a sintered MSC concept, Gen A: original sinter concept, Gen B: novel thin‐film concept with improved electrolyte and anode structure [Ref: Ni → Nickel; 8‐YSZ → 8 mol% Y2O3‐ZrO2; CGO (GDC) → Ce1−xGdxO2−δ; LSCF → La1−xSrxCo1−yFeyO3−δ; DBL → diffusion barrier layer; ITM → P/M FeCr‐based alloy (ITM‐alloy from Plansee)].
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Observe the slightly lower OCVs for MSC cells in a stack comprising of both ASCs and MSCs.
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I–V data for next‐generation MSCs (H2/Ar).
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Microstructure of next‐generation MSCs.
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I–V data of 10‐cell stacks (DLR‐Plansee‐ElringKlinger combine); average power densities of 306 mW/cm2 (vaccuum plasma spray, VPS) and 222 mW/cm2 (low pressure plasma spray, LPPS).
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Cell stack assembly fabrication (Plansee Consortium; reproduced with permission).
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Cassette with the cell enclosed and sealed within.
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Architecture of the cell with IC and porous metallic substrate.
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Early cell performance data for hydrogen, for Ceres Power (~2004).
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PSP's VOTO product.
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