Characterisation of materials for use in the molten carbonate fuel cell
Abstract: Fuel cells are promising candidates for converting chemical energy into electrical energy. The Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC) is a high temperature fuel cell that produces electrical energy from a variety of fuels containing hydrogen, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. Since the waste heat has a high temperature it can also be used leading to a high overall efficiency.Material degradation and the cost of the components are the problems for the commercialisation of MCFC. Although there are companies around the world starting to commercialise MCFC some further cost reduction is needed before MCFC can be fully introduced at the market.In this work, alternative materials for three different components of MCFC have been investigated. The alternative materials should have a lower cost compared to the state-of-the-art materials but also meet the life-time goal of MCFC, which is around 5 years. The nickel dissolution of the cathode is a problem and a cathode with lower solubility is needed. The dissolution of nickel for three alternative cathode materials was investigated, where one of the materials had a lower solubility than the state-of-the-art nickel oxide. This material was also tested in a cell and the electrochemical performance was found to be comparable with nickel oxide and is an interesting candidate.An inexpensive anode current collector material is also desired. For the anode current collector, the contact resistance should be low and it should have good corrosion properties. The two alternative materials tested had low contact resistance, but some chromium enrichment was seen at the grain boundaries. This can lead to a decreased mechanical stability of the material. In the wet-seal area, the stainless steel used as bipolar/separator plate should be coated. An alternative process to coat the stainless steel, that is less expensive, was evaluated. This process can be a suitable process, but today, when the coating process is done manually there seems to be a problem with the adherence.This work has been a part of the IRMATECH project, which was financed by the European Commission, where the partners have been universities, research institutes and companies around Europe.
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