CCS and Power Systems

Advanced Energy Systems - Solid Oxide Fuel Cells


Direct Utilization of Coal Syngas in High Temperature Fuel Cells


Performer: West Virginia University

Project No: FG02-06ER46299


Project Scope and Technology Readiness Level


This project is based on a multi-scale, multi-disciplinary approach and comprises three integrated tasks: (1) characterization of contaminant effects; (2) multi-scale continuum modeling; and (3) anode material development. The knowledge base gained from experiments will be used in multi-scale computational models to establish the tolerance limits for the impurities and to predict the life of SOFCs operating on coal syngas that contains impurities.

Long term anode exposure tests to phosphine (PH3) will be conducted with measurement of out-of-plane surface deformations at specified time intervals to quantify the PH3 effect on structural properties. The test results will facilitate the development of long-term anode structural durability and electrochemical degradation models under coal syngas utilization. A model will be built based on the experimental data to determine the influence of the electrical current and water content on the degradation rate and nickel (Ni) migration. A mass spectrometer will be connected to the point at which contaminant gases are mixed with the fuel stream to confirm the composition of gases entering the hot zone of the tube furnace. A sampling tube will be constructed at a point just above the anode surface for sampling and analyses of gasses. These gas analyses will be correlated to determine the fate of contaminants (phosphine, hydrogen sulfide, etc.) inside the furnace as a function of the initial fuel composition, temperature, and current flow through the SOFC. Alternative ceramic anode components will be designed and developed for operation in sulfur- and phosphor-containing coal syngas using contaminant tolerant materials. West Virginia University’s research experience in SOFC manufacturing and mixed oxides impregnation, together with an atmospheric high-temperature instrument, will be utilized to overcome technical barriers.

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment identifies the current state of readiness of the key technologies being developed under the DOE’s Clean Coal Research Program. In FY 12, this project was not assessed.

The TRL assessment process and its results including definition and description of the levels may be found in the "2012 Technology Readiness Assessment-Analysis of Active Research Portfolio".


Project Details