Performance of solid oxide fuel cells operated with coal syngas provided directly from a gasification process

Gregory A. Hackett, Kirk Gerdes, Xueyan Song, Yun Chen, Vaithiyalingam Shutthanandan, Mark Engelhard, Zihua Zhu, Suntharampillai Thevuthasan, Randall Gemmen

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are being developed for integrated gasification power plants that generate electricity from coal at 50+% efficiency. The interaction of trace metals in coal syngas with Ni-based SOFC anodes is being investigated through thermodynamic analyses and in laboratory experiments, but test data from direct coal syngas exposure are sparsely available. This effort evaluates the significance of performance losses associated with exposure to direct coal syngas. Specimen are operated in a unique mobile test skid that is deployed to the research gasifier at NCCC in Wilsonville, AL. The test skid interfaces with a gasifier slipstream to deliver hot syngas to a parallel array of twelve SOFCs. During the 500 h test period, all twelve cells are monitored for performance at four current densities. Degradation is attributed to syngas exposure and trace material attack on the anode structure that is accelerated at increasing current densities. Cells that are operated at 0 and 125 mA cm -2 degrade at 9.1 and 10.7% per 1000 h, respectively, while cells operated at 250 and 375 mA cm -2 degrade at 18.9 and 16.2% per 1000 h, respectively. Spectroscopic analysis of the anodes showed carbon, sulfur, and phosphorus deposits; no secondary Ni-metal phases were found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-152
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Coal syngas
  • Gasification
  • Multi-cell array
  • Particle induced X-ray emission
  • Solid oxide fuel cell
  • Transmission electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

Hackett, G. A., Gerdes, K., Song, X., Chen, Y., Shutthanandan, V., Engelhard, M., Zhu, Z., Thevuthasan, S., & Gemmen, R. (2012). Performance of solid oxide fuel cells operated with coal syngas provided directly from a gasification process. Journal of Power Sources, 214, 142-152.