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Issue 8, 2008
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Intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells

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High temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), typified by developers such as Siemens Westinghouse and Rolls-Royce, operate in the temperature region of 850–1000 °C. For such systems, very high efficiencies can be achieved from integration with gas turbines for large-scale stationary applications. However, high temperature operation means that the components of the stack need to be predominantly ceramic and high temperature metal alloys are needed for many balance-of-plant components. For smaller scale applications, where integration with a heat engine is not appropriate, there is a trend to move to lower temperatures of operation, into the so-called intermediate temperature (IT) range of 500–750 °C. This expands the choice of materials and stack geometries that can be used, offering reduced system cost and, in principle, reducing the corrosion rate of stack and system components.

This review introduces the IT-SOFC and explains the advantages of operation in this temperature regime. The main advances made in materials chemistry that have made IT operation possible are described and some of the engineering issues and the new opportunities that reduced temperature operation affords are discussed.

This tutorial review examines the advances being made in materials and engineering that are allowing solid oxide fuel cells to operate at lower temperature. The challenges and advantages of operating in the so-called ‘intermediate temperature’ range of 500–750 °C are discussed and the opportunities for applications not traditionally associated with solid oxide fuel cells are highlighted. This article serves as an introduction for scientists and engineers interested in intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells and the challenges and opportunities of reduced temperature operation.

Graphical abstract: Intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Mar 2008 and first published on 28 May 2008

Article type: Tutorial Review
DOI: 10.1039/B612060C
Citation: Chem. Soc. Rev., 2008,37, 1568-1578
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    Intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells

    D. J. L. Brett, A. Atkinson, N. P. Brandon and S. J. Skinner, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2008, 37, 1568
    DOI: 10.1039/B612060C

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