Ohio University

Solid Oxide Fuel/Electrolyzer Cells

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) use a solid oxide material as the electrolyte and are predominantly used for generating electricity typically through the electrochemical oxidation of H2 via oxygen ions conducted to the anode side. SOFCs are modular, scalable, efficient, and use a variety of hydrocarbons as fuel and tolerate some degree of common fossil fuel impurities, such as ammonia and chlorides. Alternatively, a solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) consumes electricity to generate molecules e.g. conversion of water or CO2 to produce H2 or CO, respectively with all of the advantages of an SOFC.

Illustration of the combined SOFC and SOEC technology for simultaneous carbon utilization and alkane conversion
Illustration of the combined SOFC and SOEC technology for simultaneous carbon utilization and alkane conversion

ISEE conducts both process simulation and materials research in a host of SOFC/SOEC applications. The research group predominantly is interested in the application of SOFC technology for process intensification for conversion of hydrocarbon feedstocks into valuable fuels and chemicals. ISEE recently was awarded a U.S. DOE project (DE-FE031709) to convert hydrocarbons and CO2 into fuels and chemicals. In addition, the team recently worked with the U.S. Navy to assess repowering of unmanned aerial vehicles using SOFC simulation tools developed by ISEE. Currently, ISEE is utilizing in-house additive manufacturing in coordination with industry to develop new manufacturing techniques that improve performance while reducing manufacturing energy consumption.

Advantages

SOFC electrolyte interface enhanced using advanced manufacturing techniques
SOFC electrolyte interface enhanced using advanced manufacturing techniques
  • Produces multiple value-added products (CO and chemicals/fuels) provides optimal process economics
  • Utilizes intermediate-temperature solid oxide electrolyte technology to relax C and O bonding to reduce overall process energetics
  • Utilizing modularity of SOFC platform technology offers integration into multiple existing/new fuel conversion cycles – Pulverized Coal (PC), Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), Natural Gass Combined Cycle (NGCC), Allam power cycle – refinery, or oil/gas field operations
  • Addressing natural gas liquids (NGL) oversupply and separation bottleneck facing the U.S. natural gas industry.

Literature

Technology Readiness Level

  • Modular Electrocatalytic Processing for Simultaneous Carbon Utilization and Alkane Conversion: TRL 2/3

Current Investigators

Sponsor

  • US Department of Energy – National Energy Technology Laboratory