Standard Article

Direct hydrocarbon SOFCs

Fuel Cell Technology and Applications

Solid oxide fuel cells and systems (SOFC)

New concepts

  1. S. A. Barnett

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f308089

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Barnett, S. A. 2010. Direct hydrocarbon SOFCs. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. Northwestern University, Department of Materials Science, IL, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


In “direct hydrocarbon” solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), the undiluted hydrocarbon fuel is fed directly into the anode compartment, with little or no oxygen-containing additions (e.g. O2, H2O, or CO2). This can potentially provide the basis for simple, efficient SOFC power plants, and may be an enabling technology for applications such as electricity generation at remote sites, small portable power supplies, and auxiliary power units for vehicles. The main challenge is to develop SOFC anodes that can use hydrocarbons without large overpotentials or carbon deposition. Strategies for electrochemically oxidizing various carbon-containing fuels without coking are discussed, including reduced operating temperature, alternative anode compositions, and carbon oxidation via electrochemically pumped oxygen. Information currently available regarding the complex reactions of hydrocarbons with typical SOFC anodes is discussed.


  • fuel cell;
  • solid oxide fuel cell;
  • hydrocarbon fuel;
  • fuel cell anode;
  • electrochemical oxidation;
  • fuel reforming;
  • carbon deposition;
  • solid electrolyte