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Title: Smart Matrix Development for Direct Carbonate Fuel Cell

Abstract

FCE’s (FuelCell Energy, Inc.) SureSourceTM products based on high-temperature internal-reforming direct carbonate fuel cell (DFC®) technology are striving to meet growing worldwide demand for high-efficiency ultra-clean power for on-site electric and combined heat and power (CHP) generation. It promises ~20% higher energy conversion efficiency than existing technologies and its large-scale deployment would help to reduce GHG (Green House Gas) emission. In this program, FCE, teamed with University of Connecticut (UConn) and Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), successfully developed an innovative electrolyte matrix (dubbed smart matrix since it promises higher power output, longer service life, and cost reduction gains concurrently) to enable the products to worldwide deployment. The electrolyte membrane (matrix) holds a very important key to fulfill these promises. The matrix, a porous microstructure consisting mainly of ultra-fine sub-micron α-LiAlO2 powders sandwiched between two electrodes, immobilizes liquid electrolyte, isolates fuel from oxidant and facilitates ionic transport. However, faster coarsening of α-LiAlO2 at the reducing anode side lowers capillary electrolyte-retention and eventually leads to matrix drying, limiting stack service life. This program, spanning over 3.5 years, successfully developed a high-yield cost-effective commercial-ready smart matrix with robust and stable fine-pore microstructure to enable the SureSource plants meeting DOE 2020 targets for CHPmore » distributed generation fuel cell systems. Fundamental coarsening mechanism was established by investigating in detail the effects of electrolyte chemistry, powder morphology, powder purity, electrolyte chemistry, gas atmosphere and temperature. More stable powders with higher crystallinity, less surface disorder, less metastable impurities, less agglomeration and more uniform particle-size distribution have improved stability. FCE devised an innovative cost-effective additive approach to disrupt the fundamental coarsening process to enhance stability. The smart matrix design was validated in numerous long-term accelerated single cells and several 30kW technology stacks, many operated for >5,000 hours. Manufacturing process was successfully optimized to produce high-yield full-area (1 m2) product-size smart matrices. Field deployment has been initiated. Successful development of this innovative smart matrix enables a quantum jump in useful life (100%) and power output (>20%). These improvements may project to >20% lower COE (Cost of Electricity) making the SureSource highly competitive with U.S. grid electricity cost leading to large-scale deployment, realizing the U.S. Government’s energy, environment, and economic agenda.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
FuelCell Energy, Inc.
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Fuel Cell Technologies Office (EE-3F)
Contributing Org.:
FuelCell Energy, Inc.
OSTI Identifier:
1439104
Report Number(s):
DOE-FCE-EE0006606
DOE Contract Number:  
EE0006606
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; 03 NATURAL GAS; 20 FOSSIL-FUELED POWER PLANTS; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; fuel cell; electrolyte matrix; DFC

Citation Formats

None, None. Smart Matrix Development for Direct Carbonate Fuel Cell. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1439104.
None, None. Smart Matrix Development for Direct Carbonate Fuel Cell. United States. doi:10.2172/1439104.
None, None. Fri . "Smart Matrix Development for Direct Carbonate Fuel Cell". United States. doi:10.2172/1439104. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1439104.
@article{osti_1439104,
title = {Smart Matrix Development for Direct Carbonate Fuel Cell},
author = {None, None},
abstractNote = {FCE’s (FuelCell Energy, Inc.) SureSourceTM products based on high-temperature internal-reforming direct carbonate fuel cell (DFC®) technology are striving to meet growing worldwide demand for high-efficiency ultra-clean power for on-site electric and combined heat and power (CHP) generation. It promises ~20% higher energy conversion efficiency than existing technologies and its large-scale deployment would help to reduce GHG (Green House Gas) emission. In this program, FCE, teamed with University of Connecticut (UConn) and Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), successfully developed an innovative electrolyte matrix (dubbed smart matrix since it promises higher power output, longer service life, and cost reduction gains concurrently) to enable the products to worldwide deployment. The electrolyte membrane (matrix) holds a very important key to fulfill these promises. The matrix, a porous microstructure consisting mainly of ultra-fine sub-micron α-LiAlO2 powders sandwiched between two electrodes, immobilizes liquid electrolyte, isolates fuel from oxidant and facilitates ionic transport. However, faster coarsening of α-LiAlO2 at the reducing anode side lowers capillary electrolyte-retention and eventually leads to matrix drying, limiting stack service life. This program, spanning over 3.5 years, successfully developed a high-yield cost-effective commercial-ready smart matrix with robust and stable fine-pore microstructure to enable the SureSource plants meeting DOE 2020 targets for CHP distributed generation fuel cell systems. Fundamental coarsening mechanism was established by investigating in detail the effects of electrolyte chemistry, powder morphology, powder purity, electrolyte chemistry, gas atmosphere and temperature. More stable powders with higher crystallinity, less surface disorder, less metastable impurities, less agglomeration and more uniform particle-size distribution have improved stability. FCE devised an innovative cost-effective additive approach to disrupt the fundamental coarsening process to enhance stability. The smart matrix design was validated in numerous long-term accelerated single cells and several 30kW technology stacks, many operated for >5,000 hours. Manufacturing process was successfully optimized to produce high-yield full-area (1 m2) product-size smart matrices. Field deployment has been initiated. Successful development of this innovative smart matrix enables a quantum jump in useful life (100%) and power output (>20%). These improvements may project to >20% lower COE (Cost of Electricity) making the SureSource highly competitive with U.S. grid electricity cost leading to large-scale deployment, realizing the U.S. Government’s energy, environment, and economic agenda.},
doi = {10.2172/1439104},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {5}
}