Shaping of a Dual Membrane SOFC and First Electrochemical Tests in a Dedicated 3-Chamber Set-up

Tuesday, 28 July 2015: 15:00
Lomond Auditorium (Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre)
D. Masson (Centre des Matériaux, Mines ParisTech, PSL), F. Perrozzi (CNR-IENI, Genoa), P. Piccardo (University of Genoa), M. Viviani (IENI - CNR), C. Pilot (Centre des Matériaux, Mines ParisTech, PSL), Z. Stoynov, D. Vladikova (IEES-BAS, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), A. Chesnaud, and A. Thorel (Centre des Matériaux, Mines ParisTech, PSL)
A new concept of a high temperature fuel cell based on a dual H+ and O2- conducting membrane was successfully developed recently (“IDEAL-Cell”, FET-Energy/FP7, 2008-2011). It operates in the range of 600-700 °C, and was shown to be superior of standard SOFCs and PCFCs at equivalent overall thickness. It is based on the junction between the anodic part of a PCFC and the cathodic part of a SOFC through a mixed H+ and O2- conducting porous composite ceramic membrane, avoiding all disadvantages associated to the presence of water at the electrodes. In the initial configuration, the porous mixed conductivity central membrane was made of a composite BCY15/YDC15, in which the active sites lay along the triple contact lines (TPB) between the protonic conducting phase (BCY15), the anionic conducting phase (YDC15) and the gas phase in the pores. During the course of the European project cited above, it was discovered and modeled that, in addition to be a protonic conductor, BCY15 was also an excellent oxygen conductor at 600-700 °C provided that it is fed with oxygen. Therefore, a second generation of dual membrane cell was developed in which YDC15 is replaced by BCY15, leading to a strongly simplified cell, much easier to shape and sinter, with potentially higher performances, i.e. the TPB become full active surfaces, magnifying the number of active sites; i.e. the dual membrane being solely made of BCY15, the tortuosity of the conductive phase is strongly diminished and its volume fraction increased, hence the electric resistance becomes much lower. As a whole, this so-called “monolithic concept” (for the cell is almost essentially made of a single BCY15 phase) improves the chemical and mechanical compatibility, increases the global cell conductivity and represents an important step towards simplifying the technology for industrialization. Moreover this new concept shows a good reversibility between the SOFC and SOEC modes; since this cell is based on 3 separate compartments (oxygen at the cathode, hydrogen at the anode, water at the dual central membrane), the dynamic of the device when shifting from one mode to the other is very high (no need to adjust the gas mixture at electrodes).

The present work proposes to further increase the electrochemical properties of this monolithic dual membrane high temperature fuel cell by studying the catalytic properties on the mixed H+ and O2- conducting membrane with or without addition of Pt nanoparticles or Ni foam, which have been evaluated by impedance spectroscopy and polarization measurements. These additions led to slight adjustments of the shaping parameters to obtain flat and comparable samples. Finally, the electrochemical performances of the different configurations of the monolithic cell have been evaluated in real operating conditions via a dedicated 3-chamber set-up named Real Life Tester (RLT℗). Results show satisfactorily OCV and good performances for all samples, but a rapid degradation for the configuration with Ni foam probably due to aqueous electrochemical corrosion.