Contamination Resistant Anodes for Intermediate Temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Period of Performance: 01/01/2002 - 12/31/2002

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Eltron Research, Inc.
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

70251 State-of-the-art solid oxide fuel cells operating on reformed natural gas require a separate fuel processing stage that adds expense and complexity to the overall power system. Operation on reformate of unscrubbed fuel or directly on hydrocarbon fuel would be highly desirable; however, proper anode materials need to be developed that exhibit high electrocatalytic activity toward hydrocarbon oxidation, tolerance toward feedstream sulfur, and the suppression of carbon deposition. This project will further develop ceria-based materials as anodes for the electrochemical oxidation of hydrocarbon fuels or reformates in solid oxide fuel cells operating at intermediate temperatures (550-750¿C). These materials have been demonstrated to be catalysts for both effective methane oxidation and selective CO oxidation, and are believed to possess the properties necessary to be effective anode materials, including the inhibition of carbon deposition. In Phase I, the materials will be fabricated and characterized for their electrical and thermal expansion properties. Their stability toward hydrogen sulfide, as well as their performance as anodes under fuel cell operating conditions with methane and methane reformate, will be evaluated in the temperature range of 550-750¿C. Lastly, the anodes will be analyzed for carbon deposition and stability. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: Fuel cells possess the ability to more efficiently generate power with lower emissions than conventional fossil fuel-derived power sources. Anode materials that allow for operation at intermediate temperatures on methane would make this fuel cell technology more easily commercially implemented and, therefore, could expand the application of fuel cells beyond current anticipated uses.