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Progress in Microtubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

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Abstract

The benefits of microtubular solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are addressed, including increased power density, rapid start-up, and cycling performance. Several international developments are discussed, especially small portable applications, which demand fast start and multiple cycles. Extrusion is the main method for making microtubular SOFCs because improved structure and properties can result from better mixing of the component particles and coextrusion can integrate several cell components in one process step. When the tubes are <3 mm in diameter, it is shown that the power density and thermal shock resistance are much increased, with start-up in a few seconds rather than hours for planar designs, as demonstrated in a single-cell hand-held system running on butane. The problems of cycling, both thermal and redox, are then considered in detail. Thermal cycling degradation follows a fatigue curve whereas redox damage is linear with the number of cycles. New results are presented on thermal and redox cycling performance.

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