Technology Reviews

A Review of the Implications of Silica in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
Michael Lankin

Ceres Power, Viking House, Foundry Lane, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 5PX, United Kingdom

Yanhai Du1

 University of South Carolina, 541 Main Street, Columbia, SCduya@engr.sc.edu

Caine Finnerty

WATT Fuel Cell Corp.caine.finnerty@wattfuelcell.com


Corresponding author.

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 8(5), 054001 (Jun 17, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003980 History: Received May 27, 2010; Revised November 10, 2010; Published June 17, 2011; Online June 17, 2011

Silica is a well-known impurity in solid oxide fuel cell raw materials, namely NiO and yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ). At elevated temperatures silica will migrate to the grain boundaries, form insulating siliceous phases, and lead to a decrease in the ionic conductivity of the electrolyte. Furthermore, silica impurities have been shown to damage the anode/electrolyte interface, such that an overall decrease in cell performance and long-term stability is observed. Despite the fact that silica is ubiquitous in commercial-grade raw materials and can be incorporated from several extrinsic sources, it has negative effects on the solid oxide fuel cell, such that any further contamination should be avoided to prevent performance degradation and eventual cell failure. This paper reviews and outlines the sources and effects of silica on the solid oxide fuel cell, and attempts to determine a guideline for acceptable levels of silica contamination.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Bright field TEM showing silica contamination over the entire length of the anode/electrolyte interface. After Liu [73].

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 2

A TEM micrograph showing the presence of the silicate glass phase at a Ni/YSZ grain boundary in the bulk anode. After Liu [73].

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 3

Performance of single-cell before and after exposure to dust-slurry (800°C; hydrogen fuel; air oxidant)

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 4

Cell performance before and after exposing the cathode to the dust-slurry



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