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Solid Oxide Fuel Cell


Development and Demonstration of the Advance Technology of New Type Production of Pipe High Temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Making of Pilot Samples of these Elements for Standard Conditions of Application in Electrochemical Current Sources

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-SYN/Basic and Synthetic Chemistry/Chemistry
  • MAT-CER/Ceramics/Materials
  • MAT-COM/Composites/Materials
  • NNE-MEC/Miscellaneous Energy Conversion/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • MAN-OTH/Other/Manufacturing Technology

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Belarussian State Research and Production Powder Metallurgy Concern / Powder Metallurgy Research Institute with Pilot Plant, Belarus, Minsk

Supporting institutes

  • Belarussian State University / Institute of Physical Chemical Problems, Belarus, Minsk\nBelorussian State Polytechnic Academy / Institute of Promotion of Qualification, Belarus, Minsk


  • Kyoto University / Graduate School of Engineering, Japan, Kyoto\nDrexel University / Center for the Plasma Processing of Materials, USA, PA, Philadelphia\nKurt-Schwabe-Institut fur Mess- und Sensortechnik e.V.Meinsberg, Germany, Ziegra-Knobelsdorf\nUniversita' Degli Studi Di Ancona / Istituto di Scienze Fisiche, Italy, Ancona

Project summary

The purpose of the present project is the creation and demonstration of an advance resource power-saving technology of production of high temperature solid oxide fuel cells for standard conditions of application in electrochemical current sources with following parameters: operating temperature – 900 °C; power density – 0,2 W/cm2; general power – 10 W, high efficiency – more than 40%.

The state of the investigation field. Unique properties of ceramic materials with oxygen ionic conduction are in the base of ideology of the present project. The level of development of high temperature electrochemistry of oxygen ionic solid electrolytes makes possible to develop devices that must be widely adopted in the near future. The most perspective development in this field are self-contained thermal electric generators (SCTEG) on the base of high temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) with solid oxide electrolytes for direct chemical energy conversion into electric or thermal one, that are the only serious alternative to existing energy technologies. In comparison with other types of fuel cells, using noble metals as electrodes, SOFC are notable for resistance to impurities in gases, that permits to use present infrastructure of fuel provision and gives the possibility of recuperation coming off with products of electrochemical process of thermal energy.

The base of solid oxide fuel cell is composites (special ceramic of two types and cermet), that are used as cathode, solid electrolyte and anode. As a result of research works, carried out under the guidance of doctor of chemical sciences, professor Vecher A.A. in Research Institute of Physical Chemical Problems of BSU, were synthesised new oxide materials on the base of compositions LaMnO3 and LaCoO3 with different additions, excelling in electrochemical characteristics such traditionally used cathode materials as silver and platinum. (Mixed Electronic and Ionic Conductivity of LnCo(M)O3 (M = Ga, Cr, Fe or Ni) // Solid State Ionics. - 1997. - vol.104. - p.67-78; 1998. - vol.110. - p.53-68).

The peculiarity of the present project is the construction, based on the application of cylindrical shaped fuel cells (Siemens-Westinghouse type) with the use of oxide ceramic tube cathode (air electrode) as a constructive element. In contrast to the technological decision, proposed by Westinghouse specialists, instead of expensive technology ECVD to form on the cathode solid electrolyte and anode layers (fuel electrode) it is supposed to use plasma spraying. In comparison with fuel elements of planar geometry [Ceramatec, Ztek (USA), Forschungszentrum Julich GMBH (Germany), Riso National Lab. (Denmark)], the proposed construction does not require expensive technologies, materials and unique conditions of production. The main advantage of planar elements- a high specific power- is not a critical factor for stationary SCTEG. Proposed in the project a tube variant expects to use current collectors from nickel material. It can lead to the simplification of assembly and improve electrical parameters of SCTEG. Such construction is perspective due to its adaptability to manufacture and comparatively low cost.

To produce long-measured cylindrical cathodes the most optimal way of forming is the method of a dry isostatic pressing (DIP), developed under the guidance of doctor of technical sciences, professor Boginsky L.S. on the chair New Materials and Technologies of Interbranch Institute of Improvement of Qualification at the New Trends of Technique and Technologies Development at the Belorussian State Polytechnical Academy (Reut O.P., Boginsky L.S., Petyushik E.E. Dry Isostatic Pressing of packed materials. - Minsk: Debor, 1998. - 258 p.).

For high temperature treatment of cathode materials enlisted are the collaborators of the laboratory of ceramics of PMRI with Pilot Plant of Belorussian State Research and Production Powder Metallurgy Concern. In this laboratory for a period of many years under the guidance of candidate of technical sciences, senior research worker Baray S.G. carried out are intensive investigations on compaction by high energy methods and high temperature sintering of different ceramic materials, including powder oxide ceramic compositions (Baray S.G., Vityaz P.A. Hot Isostatic Pressing of Ceramics on the Base of Alumina and Zirconia. - Minsk: Science and Technique, 1992. - 86 p.). At present much attention is given to investigations in the field of nanostructure ceramic materials on the base simple and complex oxides ( Shevchenok A.A., Baray S.G., Shushkov S.V. Development of Oxide Ceramic Materials for Microelectronics from Nanopowders by Different Consolidation Methods // Physics, Chemistry and Application of Nanostructures / V.Borisenko, A.Filonov, S.Gaponenko and V.Gurin, Eds.-Singapure: World Scientific. - 1999. - p.330-334). Works in this field are perspective as for obtaining advanced ceramic materials with controlled microstructure, particular functional properties and are alluring to solve tasks of obtaining cathode materials for SOFC product.

Particular functions in SOFC products are performed by solid electrolyte and anode, that is supposed to spray by the method of plasma spraying. (Separation and insulation layers of atmospheric plasma-sprayed ceramics for high temperature fuel cells-development and implementation / T. Jansing, R. Fleck, J. Decker // United Thermal Spray Conf. (Dusseldorf, Marz 17-19, 1999). - Dusseldorf: Verlag fur Schweissen und Verwandte Verfahren, DVS. - Verl. - 1999. - p.69-75). Plasma coatings must provide high gas density and chemical resistance under working temperatures 850-950 °C under the overfall of chemical potential «air-fuel», and to provide planned service life near 40000 hours. Besides coatings must support a thermal cycling between room and operating temperatures and possess a good heat capacity and heat conductivity. Such tasks are solved in the plasma spraying laboratory of PMRI with PP under the guidance of doctor of technical sciences, professor Ilyuschenko A.Ph., where were developed modern technologies of spraying of ceramic coatings of various purposes. (Theory and Practice of Protective Coatings Spraying / Vityaz P.A., Ivashko V.S., Ilyuschenko A.Ph. - Minsk: Science of Belarus, 1998. - 583 p.).

The influence of the proposed project on the progress in the field of developments. The development of an advance technology of production of a new type of high temperature solid oxide fuel cells and making of pilot samples SOFC for standard conditions of application will make possible to begin the production of industrial samples of self contained thermal electric generators of a module construction with power 3-15 kW for chemical energy conversion into electric or thermal one directly through the cold combustion, that will make possible to set the production of ecologically safe and economical power sources and to achieve 30-40% economy of resources in this field by the global decrease of losses when transporting electric and thermal power.

Participants of the Project. In the fulfillment of the project will take part scientists, engineers and other technical workers of three leading research organizations of the Republic of Belarus, that took part in the development of rocket space and aviation materials and technologies, connected with the production of unique composites to work in the conditions of extreme high pressures and temperatures, of intensive erosive and corrosion wear and radioactive irradiation. Among 22 participants of the project there are 3 doctors of sciences, 8 candidates of sciences.

Scope of Activities. It is planned to fulfill this project by solving 4 main tasks:

Task 1. To develop optimal compositions and technology of production of cathode and anode materials, to carry out electric chemical and resource tests of high temperature solid oxide fuel cells Responsible is RIPCP of BSU.

Task 2. To develop the equipment, tool and technology of dry isostatic pressing of fuel cells cathodes. Responsible is IIIQ at BSPA.

Task 3. To investigate the special features of the process of high temperature treatment of composites in the system La-Sr-Mn-O and to develop the technology of the production of ceramic cathodes of solid oxide fuel cells. Responsible is PMRI PP.

Task 4. To develop the methods of forming of gas tight ceramic coatings and the technology of plasma spraying of solid electrolyte and anode layer of solid oxide fuel cells. Responsible is PMRI PP.

Expected Results. In the course of fulfillment of the project it is expected to obtain following results:

Task 1:

- development of optimal compositions of cathode and anode materials, development and demonstration of the technology of manufacture on their base of powders to produce fuel cells;
- development of ways to activate cathode and anode of fuel cell;
- development of the technology of manufacture of fuel cells current collectors;
- development of procedure of electric and resource tests of SOFC under operating temperatures.

Task 2.

- development of the equipment and tool to form cathode green bodies;
- development and demonstration of the technology of dry isostatic pressing of long measured cathode green bodies of fuel cells with uniform density.

Task 3.

- development of the tools for thermal treatment of long measured tube cathodes;
- development and demonstration of the technology of high temperature treatment of long measured cathodes of fuel cells on the base of the composition La0,7Sr0,3MnO3 with given dimensions, structure and properties;
- definition of characteristics of cathode material and estimation of their accordance with demands to SOFC product.

Task 4.

- development of the tools for spraying ceramic coatings on tube cathode on the machine of plasma spraying under low pressure and in a controlled medium;
- development and demonstration of the technology of spraying of solid electrolyte on the base of YSZ and anode layer on the base of Ni-YSZ cermet on the cathode by the plasma spraying method;
- definition of plasma coatings characteristics and estimation of their accordance with demands to SOFC product.

On the base of carried out investigations it is planned to grant a patent to the technological equipment, tools and methods of production SOFC and to publish received results in reviewed scientific editions. On the base of developments it is possible to create the production of solid oxide fuel cells. For this purpose it is necessary to prepare designer and technological documents, technological equipment and tools, to develop technical conditions for SOFC product.

Application of the project results permit to create a variant of self contained generators of electric and thermal energy with the use of new type of tube fuel cells with sprayed layers of solid electrolyte, anode and current collectors, that has considerable advantages in the field of target, adaptability to manufacture and cost. Such SCTEG will be used to provide with power and warmth the inpidual habitation, temporary settlements, expeditions, medical units in field conditions; to supply the power to pumping stations on gas-petroleum pipe-line by the use of transferred fuel etc.

Correspondence of the project works to ISTC objectives. The participation in the present project of scientists and specialists, connected with a weapon activity, permits:

- to redirect their talents to peaceful activities;
- to promote their integration into the international scientific community;
- to support basic and applied research and technology development for peaceful purposes, notably in the field of production of new ceramic materials and goods on their base with a higher level of functional properties;
- to contribute to the solution of national or international technical problems of the production of alternative resources of thermal and electric power;
- to reinforce the transition to market-based economies responsive to civil needs.

Role of Foreign Collaborators is following:

- information exchange in the course of project implementation and about separate scientific and practical results;
- cross-checks of obtained results using independent methods and equipment, provide comments to the technical reports;
- conduction of joint seminars, conferences, joint and parallel investigations, tests and estimation of samples SOFC, assistance and material support for the project participants to joint international meeting;
- participation in technical monitoring of project activities performed by ISTC staff.

Technical Approach and Methodology. Technical approach and methodology, recommended by the International Energy Agency will be used on all stages of the project during the fulfillment of complex investigations and tests of developed SOFC materials, products, components and systems on their base (Recommended Practices for SOFC Product & Systems Evaluation / Swiss Federal Office of Energy, Operating Agent Task II. - Bern, August 1992.-77 p.).

Investigations of the structure and properties of materials and coatings will be carried out with the use of different methods, specifically metallographic and X-ray structural analysis, electronic microscopy, standard and special methods of mechanical, thermal, thermal mechanical and electric chemical tests, as well as some original methods, developed by the authors of the project.