Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), based on an oxide ion conducting electrolyte, offer a clean, low-pollution technology to electrochemically generate electricity at high efficiencies. These fuel cells provide many advantages over traditional energy conversion systems including high efficiency, reliability, modularity, fuel adaptability, and very low levels of SOx and NOx emissions. Quiet, vibration-free operation of SOFCs also eliminates noise usually associated with conventional power generation systems. Furthermore, because of their high operation temperature (600–1000°C), some hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas can be reformed within the cell stack eliminating the need for an expensive, external reformer. In spite of these advantages, the degree and extent of their market penetration really depends on the ability to reduce the cost of SOFC-based power systems while ensuring their long-term durability. This article reviews the cell and stack materials, cell designs, and present commercial status of power systems built using SOFCs.
Conflict of interest: The author has declared no conflicts of interest for this article.
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