Research Papers

Direct JP-8 Conversion Using a Liquid Tin Anode Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (LTA-SOFC) for Military Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
W. A. McPhee

 CellTech Power LCC, 131 Flanders Road, Westborough, MA 01581mcphee@celltechpower.com

L. Bateman, M. Koslowske, M. Slaney, Z. Uzep, J. Bentley, T. Tao

 CellTech Power LCC, 131 Flanders Road, Westborough, MA 01581

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(4), 041007 (Mar 28, 2011) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3005589 History: Received June 16, 2007; Revised April 25, 2008; Published March 28, 2011; Online March 28, 2011

A liquid tin anode solid oxide fuel cell (LTA-SOFC) is actively being developed for direct utilization of JP-8 logistic fuel. Since its invention in 1998, the LTA-SOFC has demonstrated the ability to operate on various carbonaceous fuels including hydrocarbons, alcohols, carbon, biomass, and coal without fuel reforming or reprocessing to remove known impurities such as sulfur. Natural gas fueled 1kW stand alone prototypes for distributed power generation and have previously demonstrated over 2000h of continuous operation. The aim is to develop simple and reliable portable power that operates directly off JP-8 and other carbonaceous fuels. The current program focuses on improvement of power density and cell manufacturability. Cell geometry was modified from the previous design to optimize power density while minimizing cell weight and volume. The cell construction is a liquid tin anode housed in a porous separator, an 8mol% yttria stabilized electrolyte, and a strontium doped lanthanum magnate cathode. Experimentation was conducted on single cells at 1000°C. The JP-8 fuel used for experimentation contained a sulfur content of 1400ppm. The direct JP-8 conversion in a LTA-SOFC demonstrated up to 41% efficiency. The LTA-SOFC was also capable of maintaining greater than 30% efficiency at 70% of maximum power output at a JP-8 flow rate of 10μlmin1. Continuous operation with direct conversion of JP-8 was sustained for over 100h with efficiencies of 41–17%. A maximum power density of 120mWcm2 was sustainable on a JP-8 flow rate of 50μlmin1. The current Gen 3.1 cell design can sustain a maximum power of 120mWcm2 by direct conversion of JP-8 without fuel processing, reforming, or sulfur removal. Efficiencies of up to 41% were sustained for a minimum of 1h, with continuous operation on JP-8 for over 100h. Further performance improvements are anticipated, thereby facilitating LTA-SOFCs use for military and civilian applications that demand flexible fuel.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Power density curves at 1000°C show that the maximum sustainable power is 120mWcm−2 for JP-8, and also illustrates that peak power is still to be reached

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Figure 2

The initial single cell 100h durability test at JP-8 flow rate of 10μlmin−1 showed no performance degradation

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Figure 3

An average efficiency of 41.29% at 76mWcm−2 was sustained for an hour on the single cell used for the 100h durability test, this cell also demonstrated efficiencies of 26.18% and 31.35% at power densities of 48mWcm−2 and 58mWcm−2, respectively

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Figure 4

The system schematic illustrating that a LTA-SOFC does not require the typical BOP associated with SOFC running on JP-8 and therefore allowing weight and volumetric savings

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Figure 5

A projection of system efficiency as a function of fuel weight saving shows that the ability to operate a liquid tin anode SOFC at an efficiency of 40% will equate to substantial weight savings for a portable device

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Figure 6

A nominal 250W system design on a LTA-SOFC directly converting JP-8 at 30% efficiency would have a comparable dry weight to the CERDEC draft battery charger specification and a fuel weight that is less than half the specified fuel weight



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