Modeling of electrochemistry and steam-methane reforming performance for simulating pressurized solid oxide fuel cell stacks

Kurtis P. Recknagle, Emily M. Ryan, Brian J. Koeppel, Lenna A. Mahoney, Moe A. Khaleel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the electrochemical and direct internal steam-methane reforming performance of the solid oxide fuel cell when subjected to pressurization. Pressurized operation boosts the Nernst potential and decreases the activation polarization, both of which serve to increase cell voltage and power while lowering the heat load and operating temperature. A model considering the activation polarization in both the fuel and the air electrodes was adopted to address this effect on the electrochemical performance. The pressurized methane conversion kinetics and the increase in equilibrium methane concentration are considered in a new rate expression. The models were then applied in simulations to predict how the distributions of direct internal reforming rate, temperature, and current density are effected within stacks operating at elevated pressure. A generic 10 cm counter-flow stack model was created and used for the simulations of pressurized operation. The predictions showed improved thermal and electrical performance with increased operating pressure. The average and maximum cell temperatures decreased by 3% (20 °C) while the cell voltage increased by 9% as the operating pressure was increased from 1 to 10 atm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6637-6644
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010



  • DIR
  • Electrochemistry
  • Modeling
  • Performance
  • Pressurized
  • SOFC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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