Standard Article

Electrolyte and material challenges

Fuel Cell Technology and Applications

Molten carbonate fuel cells and systems (MCFC)

  1. J. Hoffmann1,
  2. C.-Y. Yuh2,
  3. A. Godula Jopek3

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f307077

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Hoffmann, J., Yuh, C.-Y. and Godula Jopek, A. 2010. Electrolyte and material challenges. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    MTU-Friedrichshafen GmbH, Munich, Germany

  2. 2

    FuelCell Energy, Danbury, CT, USA

  3. 3

    Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Department of Molten Salts, Krakow, Poland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


This chapter sets its focus on the properties of known electrolytes as well as on new improved approaches. So far, most developers have favored two electrolyte mixtures, the lithium potassium carbonate (Li/K 62 : 38 mol%) and the lithium sodium carbonate (Li/Na 52 : 48 or 60 : 40 mol%). The published properties of these mixtures, in spite of the fact that many of them have been measured under different experimental conditions, are compared and discussed. The molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) community is separated into two main groups, which differ mainly in the gas compositions and utilization applied. Since the properties of the electrolyte are influenced significantly by these operating conditions, the electrolyte itself, which is in contact with most of the cell components, may also vary in how it interacts with the components. Therefore, the corrosion of the hardware material (bipolar plate, current collectors, electrodes, matrix, internal reforming catalyst), the evaporation of the electrolyte components and finally the electrochemical properties depend on the operation conditions and have a significant influence on the performance and lifetime of carbonate fuel cell systems. Experimental observations describing effects arising from interaction of the electrolyte with other components are also discussed in this chapter.


  • MCFC;
  • electrolyte;
  • polarization;
  • ohmic resistance;
  • contact angle;
  • degradation;
  • electrodes;
  • matrix;
  • corrosion;
  • bipolar plate;
  • current collector;
  • internal reforming