Via the Nanowerk website, we get a story about efforts by the Institute of Energy Research at the German Research Center Jülich (FZJ) to deal with some of the practical problems in developing solid oxide fuel cells for application in advanced power stations.
As with many other groups working on SOFCs, FZJ’s recent focus has been the lowering of the fuel cell’s operating temperature in order to achieve faster warmup, operational cost reductions and better stability. One particular route they are researching is to shrink the thickness of a SOFC’s electrolyte layer. To this end, a FZJ team has come up with a planar anode-supported SOFC that has achieved an average power output of 1.4 W/cm2 at 750°C and 0.7 V
In FZJ’s SOFC concept the anode substrate serves as the mechanical supporting component. The substrate consists of nickel oxide and yttria-stabilised zirconia, fabricated with ceramic powders, using FZJ’s patented Coat-mix process, and subsequent warm pressing. The substrate is fired at temperatures >1000°C. Next the anode functional layer and electrolyte are deposited by vacuum slurry coating. After sintering, the electrolyte is gastight, but the substrate is still porous. The substrate/electrolyte unit is cut to size and then a double-layered cathode is applied using wet powder spraying.
Nanonetwork reports that FZJ is speeding up their work by using a table top scanning electron microscope.