Fundamentals of the Solid Oxide Fuel Cells


Fundamentals of the Solid Oxide Fuel Cells



Abdul Moid Khan


Presentation: 11:20-11:40 p.m., Kennedy Union 312



A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy of a fuel oxidation reaction directly into electricity. A solid oxide fuel cell can be considered an electro-chemical reactor which converts hydrogen and oxygen into electricity. Hydrogen or a hydrocarbon (e.g., methane) is supplied on the anode and air or oxygen on the cathode side of the fuel cell. Hydrogen and carbon monoxide (if hydrogen is not pure) diffuse through the porous anode to the three-phase boundary formed by the anode, the electrolyte, and the gaseous hydrogen. Similarly, oxygen diffuses through cathode to three phase-boundary on the cathode side where oxygen accepts electrons. These oxygen ions (oxide ions) travel through the porous electrolyte and react with hydrogen to produce electrons and water at the anode and thus an electro motive force is generated between two electrodes. The two electrodes can be connected via an external circuit and an electrical current can be generated. The change in Gibbs free energy of the overall cell reaction is equal to the maximum electrochemical work. The electrical potential difference between the cell electrodes produced due to half-cell reactions drives the electrons to move from the anode to the cathode in the cell external electric circuit. In this presentation, some fundamentals behind the operation of high temperature solid oxide fuel cells as well as information from past industrial scale SOFC systems will be reviewed.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Capstone Project

Primary Advisor

Sarwan Sandhu

Primary Advisor's Department

Chemical and Materials Engineering


Stander Symposium, School of Engineering

Institutional Learning Goals

Vocation; Practical Wisdom; Critical Evaluation of Our Times

Fundamentals of the Solid Oxide Fuel Cells