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DEVELOPMENT OF CHEMICAL SENSORS FOR PEM AND SOFC SYSTEMS A-M. Azad, C. Holt, S. Swartz
 

Summary: DEVELOPMENT OF CHEMICAL SENSORS FOR PEM AND SOFC SYSTEMS
A-M. Azad, C. Holt, S. Swartz
NexTech Materials, Ltd., Worthington, OH
Abstract
Proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells are being developed for both automotive (motive
and/or auxiliary) and stationary (residential) power applications. Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs)
also are being pursued for a number of power generation applications, including stationary
(residential and utility), and automotive (auxiliary) power sources. For both of these types of fuel
cells, the use of hydrocarbon fuels requires various levels of pre-processing (or reforming) of the
fuel, either to provide a source of relative pure (CO-free) hydrogen for PEM fuel cells, or to
provide a source of synthesis gas (H2 + CO) for SOFCs. In the case of PEM fuel cells, impurities
like carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia, lead to rapid degradation of platinum-based
anode electrocatalysts. In the case of SOFCs, the presence of sulfur (H2S) and hydrocarbons in the
reformed gas can lead to degradation of the nickel-based anodes. Therefore, the sensing and
metering of these minor impurities in the reformate gas streams, prior to their entry in the fuel cell
stacks is warranted. The specific challenge with respect to monitoring these particular gaseous
species is the presence of both hydrogen (~40 percent) and humidity (~30 percent) in the reformed
gases. Thus, new strategies are required to meet these sensor development challenges. Current
work at NexTech Materials is aimed at optimization of previously demonstrated CO sensors for
PEM fuel cell systems, and development of new types of sensors for ammonia and sulfur. In

  

Source: Azad, Abdul-Majeed - Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Toledo

 

Collections: Materials Science; Energy Storage, Conversion and Utilization