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Fuel Cells: Intermediate Temperature Solid Oxides

  1. Alan Atkinson1,
  2. John Kilner1,
  3. Stephen Skinner1,
  4. Nigel P. Brandon1,
  5. Dan J. L. Brett2

Published Online: 18 JAN 2011

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia810

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Atkinson, A., Kilner, J., Skinner, S., Brandon, N. P. and Brett, D. J. L. 2011. Fuel Cells: Intermediate Temperature Solid Oxides. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Imperial College London, London, UK

  2. 2

    Imperial College London and University College London, London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 JAN 2011


Fuel cells are electrochemical energy conversion devices that convert chemical energy in fuels directly into electrical energy, without the process of combustion. As a result, they are not constrained by the same thermodynamic limitations as those of heat engines and therefore have the potential to achieve higher efficiencies. High-temperature solid oxide fuel cells (HT-SOFCs) operate up to 1000 °C. These fuel cells achieve very high system efficiencies when integrated with gas turbines for large-scale stationary applications. However, operation at such high temperatures means that the components of the stack need to be predominantly ceramic, in addition to expensive high-temperature metal alloys. For smaller scale applications, there is a trend to move to lower operating temperatures, into the so-called intermediate-temperature (IT) range of 500–750 °C. In doing so, a wider range of construction materials can be used, offering reduced system cost and, in principle, improved performance durability. In this article, we introduce the IT-SOFC and explain their main operational advantages. We also focus on the combination of inorganic materials and processing routes that go to make reduced temperature SOFC operation possible.


  • intermediate-temperature solid oxide fuel cell;
  • anode;
  • cathode;
  • electrolyte;
  • interconnect;
  • combined heat and power;
  • electrochemistry