Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC)
Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Date: 1/1/95    Record No.: 10083
Contact: Glenn Rambach, 510-423-6208

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC)
Innovations cover both electrodes and the electrolyte:

Thin Film Electrolyte: Vacuum deposition permits the fabrication of very thin (1 - 10 micron) ceramic electrolytes. The thin material allows the reduction of operating temperature from 1000 íC to 600-750 íC, which in turn eliminates the need for a thick ceramic or cermet cathode. The process can also lend itself to lower cost with large scale manufacturing and improved quality assurance. With vacuum deposition, thin interlayers are also possible that can reduce overpotential losses in cells. Samples of electrolytes and unit cells are being sent to Argonne for analysis and testing.

Electrode: Metal coated powders developed at LLNL for weapons-related applications are now being investigated as electrodes for SOFCs. The metal coated powder separates the "responsibility" of high conductivity and thermal coefficient of expansion (TCE) matching. The ceramic powder dominates the electrode volume and matches the TCE of the electrolyte, while the thin metallic coating provides a dense, continuous electron conductive path and catalytic surface. (DU, Distributed Utility)