In a world with growing energy needs and dwindling resources, reliable and renewable energy and power systems are key components in an effort to advance beyond conventional methods. Among the most promising of these technologies are fuel cells: electrochemical conversion devices that transform the energy in a fuel directly into electricity. The major benefits of fuel cells include: low-to-zero emissions, high efficiency, reliability and fuel flexibility, energy security, ruggedness and durability, scalability, quiet operation, technology compatibility, and that they are lightweight and long-lasting. A fuel cell consists of an anode, cathode, and electrolyte. Among the five major types of fuel cells, solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are an excellent solution to energy and power needs due to their fuel flexibility, high energy density and portability. Recent freeze casting fabrication techniques provide an exciting path for improvement of SOFC performance. Experimental procedures in freeze casting of tubular SOFCs consisted of: ceramic slurry preparation, rheological analysis, casting, coating, sintering, microstructure evaluation, and performance testing. The new process generated the desired microstructure for enhanced functionality of the fuel cells. Applications of the SOFC power systems are vast, including NASA’s space-based systems, auxiliary power, electric utility, distributed generation, and many portable power applications. This research will also give way to ancillary projects including carbon dioxide conversion, as well as hydrogen, fuel, and oxygen production. This paper will discuss freeze casting procedures, the resultant microstructures of SOFCs and performance evaluation, as well as provide a base for analysis in future research.
Dr. Yanhai Du
Various small components