Solid oxide fuel cell anode degradation by the effect of hydrogen chloride in stack and single cell environments
The poisoning effect by hydrogen chloride (HCl) on state-of-the-art Ni anode-supported solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) at 750 degrees C is evaluated in either hydrogen or syngas fuel. Experiments are performed on single cells and short stacks and HCl concentration in the fuel gas is increased from 1 ppm(v) up to 1000 ppm(v) at different current densities. Characterization methods such as cell voltage monitoring vs. time and electrochemical impedance response analysis (distribution of relaxation times (DRT), equivalent electrical circuit) are used to identify the prevailing degradation mechanism. Single cell experiments revealed that the poisoning is more severe when feeding with hydrogen than with syngas. Performance loss is attributed to the effects of HCl adsorption onto nickel surfaces, which lowered the catalyst activity. Interestingly, in syngas HCl does not affect stack performance even at concentrations up to 500 ppm(v), even when causing severe corrosion of the anode exhaust pipe. Furthermore, post-test analysis suggests that chlorine is present on the nickel particles in the form of adsorbed chlorine, rather than forming a secondary phase of nickel chlorine. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.