Fuel Cell Housing for Rapid Start-Up Auxiliary Power and Gas Separation


Assembling planar SOFCs into stacks for power generation Auxiliary power for autos and RV Individualized oxygen production for use in homes or hospitals


Start-up temperatures reached in 3.5 minutes for 400 thermal cycles without failure Survives the most extreme thermal shocks of any fuel cell to date Tolerates large thermal gradients across the stack Demonstrated peak power density of 0.45W/cm2 at 720°C Enables the use of conventional fuel cell materials


Berkeley Lab scientists have designed a fuel cell housing unit that enables rapid thermal cycling of planar SOFCs made of conventional fuel cell materials. The invention makes strides towards enabling the use of SOFCs for portable applications such as auxiliary automotive power or the use of related electrochemical gas separators for single-user oxygen production for health purposes.

The open circuit voltage of SOFCs employing the design remained stable after more than 400 cycles between room temperature and 700°C, demonstrating that the seals maintained excellent quality. The fuel cells also survived instantaneous heating rates of over 1200°C per minute without failure, by far the most extreme temperature history for a planar SOFC. The new design achieves a peak power density of 0.45W/cm2 at 720°C.

The cell holder consists of a stainless steel casing with window frames to accommodate SOFC membranes comprising the anode chamber. Fuel is fed through a gas inlet and undergoes oxidation at the anodes before exhausting out the gas outlet. This design uses efficient edge current collection.

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