Ethanol internal steam reforming in intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cell
This study investigates the performance of a standard Ni-YSZ anode supported cell under ethanol steam reforming operating conditions. Therefore, the fuel cell was directly operated with a steam/ethanol mixture (3 to 1 molar). Other gas mixtures were also used for comparison to check the conversion of ethanol and of reformate gases (H2, CO) in the fuel cell. The electrochemical properties of the fuel cell fed with 4 different fuel compositions were characterized between 710 and 860°C by I-V and EIS measurements at OCV and under polarization. In order to elucidate the limiting processes, impedance spectra obtained with different gas compositions were compared using the derivative of the real part of the impedance with respect of the natural logarithm of the frequency. Results show that internal steam reforming of ethanol takes place significantly on Ni-YSZ anode only above 760°C. Comparisons of results obtained with reformate gas showed that the electrochemical cell performance is dominated by the conversion of hydrogen. The conversion of CO also occurs either directly or indirectly through the water-gas shift reaction but has a significant impact on the electrochemical performance only above 760°C.