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Maria Zarzalejo

Research area:

Fuel cells, Carbon management

Degree: Masters Student

Department: Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

Supervisor: Professor Olivera Kesler


Design and Fabrication of In-plane Graded Anodes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) Operating Under High Fuel Utilization Conditions Solid oxide fuel cells are power generation electrochemical devices that can operate on natural gas or other hydrocarbon fuels. The resulting products consist of a relatively pure stream of humidified CO2 at the anode, with N2 and unreacted O2 emitted at the cathode. Since the fuel and air chamber are separated, SOFCs have been recognized as suitable for CO2 capture and storage. However, current fuel utilizations do not reach values above approximately 85% for Ni-cermet anodes because higher fuel utilizations can result in the formation of nickel oxide, or can drastically reduce the performance of the SOFC due to high voltage drops as a consequence of the fuel depletion. My work is intended to reduce the overall carbon emissions of the SOFC and to generate a more pure CO2 stream at the exhaust of the anode. An approach to pursue this goal involves modifications of the traditional SOFC architecture. Atmospheric Plasma Spray manufacturing process is a key technique for this project, since conventional manufacturing SOFC techniques are not suitable for the fabrication of in-plane graded materials due to constrictions during sintering. SOFCs are highly efficient, fuel flexible, and can be used for co-generation of electricity due to the high temperature waste heat; because of all these benefits they have an important place in the portfolio of cleaner energy production technologies required to satisfy the rising energy demand without representing a threat to the environment.

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