290808 Performance of Direct Carbon Fuel Cells Using Bio-Derived Fuels

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Anna K. McClung, Chemical Engineering, WVU AIChE, Morgantown, WV

Performance of direct carbon fuel cells using bio-derived fuels

Anna K. McClung, John Zondlo, Borja Cantero-Tubilla, and Areej Kuzmar

Department of Chemical Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, 26506

A direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) is an electrochemical device that uses solid carbon as fuel to convert chemical energy into electricity through direct electrochemical oxidation.  As DCFCs are in the preliminary stage of development, optimum design and operating conditions are undecided. In this research, a solid electrolyte DCFC incorporating a molten liquid anode and a solid ceramic electrolyte/cathode assembly is being investigated. A planar electrolyte structure made of yttrium stabilized zirconia (YSZ) with the cathode layers printed on one side and the anode layers printed on the other is employed. The various carbon sources being investigated are different types of biomass including hardwood, corn stover, yellow poplar, and switchgrass with different pretreatments. Previous research has shown highest performing cells used a combined anode structure of dense and porous gadolinium doped ceria (GDC), and a eutectic mixture of lithium and potassium carbonates with 80 wt% carbon when using carbon black as the carbon source. To determine the cell performance, open circuit voltage, maximum current and power densities, and electrochemical impedance were recorded. Carbon black was tested as baseline with a maximum power density of 119 mW/cm2. Pyrolyzed switchgrass had the highest maximum power density of 137 mW/cm2. Future work in this research will build on these findings by investigating the effects of using raw coal as the carbon source and adding catalyst to the anode chamber with the aim of enhancing the water-gas shift reaction and thereby improve the efficiency of the DCFC.

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