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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Progressive activation of degradation processes in solid oxide fuel cell stacks: Part II: Spatial distribution of the degradation

  • Author(s): Nakajo, A
  • Mueller, F
  • Brouwer, J
  • Van Herle, J
  • Favrat, D
  • et al.

Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack design must yield the highest performance, reliability and durability to achieve the lowest cost of electricity delivered to end-users. Existing modelling tools can cope with the first aim, but cannot yet provide sufficient quantitative guidance in the two others. Repeating unit models, with as degradation processes the decrease in ionic conductivity of the electrolyte, metallic interconnect corrosion, anode nickel particles coarsening and cathode chromium contamination are used to investigate their distribution, evolution and interactions in a stack. The spatial distribution of the degradation is studied for the operating conditions optimised in Part I for the highest system electrical efficiency during long-term operation under constant system power output. Current-voltage characterisations performed at different times underestimate the degradation. In the present conditions, the degradation of the cathode dominates. The lower and more uniform cathode overpotential in counter-flow configuration, combined with the beneficial effect of internal reforming on reducing the air-fuel ratio yields the highest lifetime, because it alleviates chromium contamination and interactions between the degradation processes. Increasing the operating temperature alleviates cathode chromium contamination. The beneficial decreases of the cathode overpotential exceed the detrimental higher release rate of chromium species from the metallic interconnect. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

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