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Our planar SOFC stacking technology uses unprofiled metallic interconnects (MIC) and thin cells of tape cast anode supported YSZ. The key element is the gas diffusion layer (GDL) between cell and MIC, which consists of so-called SOFConnex™. Using square cells with internal manifolds, 0.5 W/cm2 stack power density (800°C) can be obtained on short stacks. However, this open design configuration limits the assembly of large stacks and the durability of operation, owing to postcombustion and redox cycling occurring at unprotected cell edges. A new design, inspired from modeling work and the adaptability of the SOFConnex™ GDL, led to oblong-shaped cells, assembled in a closed stack casing with external air manifolding and fuel recovery manifolding, avoiding postcombustion. While stack power density in both designs remains similar, the operation at increased fuel utilization has become more stable in the 2nd design. Furthermore, a correlation of performance homogeneity during stack testing was drawn to assembly quality control. A 36-cell stack in dilute H2 at 800°C achieved 625 Wel (28% LHV efficiency, 0.35 W/cm2) under continuous polarisation, with all 6 clusters of 6 cells showing coincident i-V-output.