Effects of electrode microstructure and electrolyte parameters on intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cell (ITSOFC) performance


In this study, the effects of electrode microstructure and electrolyte parameters on intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cell (ITSOFC) performance were investigated using a one-dimensional SOFC model from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). After a brief review of the fundamental SOFC operating processes and a literature review incorporating more advanced SOFC topics, such as electrode microstructure modeling and mixed ionic and electronic (MIEC) composite cathodes, it was determined from the PNNL benchmark results that the dominating ITSOFC losses were caused from the activation and Ohmic overpotentials. The activation overpotential was investigated through the exchange current density term, which is dependent on the cathode activation energy, the cathode porosity, and the pore size and grain size at the cathode triple phase boundary (TPB). The cathode pore size, grain size, and porosity were not integrated in the PNNL model, therefore, an analytical solution for exchange current density from Deng and Petric (2005) was utilized to optimize their effects on performance. The Ohmic loss was determined to be entirely dependent on the electrolyte ionic conductivity, and an optimal value for this conductivity was determined.

Simultaneous optimization of the above parametric evaluations led to a 388 % increase in performance from the PNNL benchmark case at 600 °C. Although this was deemed successful for this project, future research should be focused on numerically quantifying and modeling the electrode microstructure in two and·three-dimensions for more accurate results, as the electrode microstructure may be highly multi-dimensional in nature.


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Thesis Completion



Sleiti, Ahmad K.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science;Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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