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Colloquia with Prof. Harry Finklea, West Virginia University

An Electrochemist’s View of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are high temperature devices that convert gaseous
fuels and air into electricity. SOFCs offer a number of advantages in energy
conversion, such as high efficiency, fuel flexibility, combined heat-and-power
applications, scalability, and no NOx emissions. The fuels being explored include
hydrogen, natural gas, liquid hydrocarbons, and coal syngas. A number of technical
challenges (operation temperature, degradation, and cost) need to be solved in order
to implement SOFCs on a large scale. The field is dominated by engineers, with few
chemists and even fewer electrochemists. This presentation will describe several
projects which were developed from the view point of a card-carrying electrochemist.
These include (a) the problem with reference electrodes in SOFCs, (b) impedance
analysis using deconvolution, (c) a protocol for identifying impedance components
associated with the cathode and anode in an operating SOFC, (d) a method for
obtaining cathode impedance as a function of overpotential in symmetrical cells, and
(e) mass spectroscopic analysis of exhaust gas from the SOFC anode in the
presence of PH3 (a contaminant in coal syngas).

Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:15pm – 5:30pm Central Time
5211 SC (map)