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Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Principal Investigator(s): 


Fuel cells have become widely known for converting fuel and air into electricity, CO2, H2O, and heat at high efficiencies. Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC's) are constructed with a ceramic
electrolyte, anode and cathode and either a metal or ceramic interconnect. SOFC's are attractive because of their ability to oxidize many fuel sources and their high efficiency. Because
their minimum operating temperature is usually well above 600ºC, SOFC's are limited in their materials selection, start up time, and applications.

Our lab has made crucial strides in all areas of SOFC performance and operating temperature. A recent breakthrough in electrolyte material called SNDC shows a five-fold increase in ionic
conductivity over the popular yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolyte. Dr. Wachsman's continuum-level electrochemical model showed an end to the trend of thinner electrolyte
layers helped optimize fuel cell design. We have successfully constructed a 3D model of an LSCF cathode, which provides the ability to quantify porous cathode microstructure at the
submicrometer level.