Development of Sulfur Tolerant Materials for the Hydrogen Sulfide Solid Oxide Fuel Cell
Aguilar, Luis Felipe
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One of the major technical challenges towards a viable H2S//Air SOFC is to identify and develop anode materials that are electronically conductive, chemically and electrochemically stable, and catalytically active when exposed to H2S-rich environments. The corrosive nature of H2S renders most traditional state-of-the-art SOFC anode materials (Ni, Pt, Ag) useless for long-term cell performance even at very low sulfur concentrations. In my doctoral thesis work, a new class of perovskite-based anodes was developed for potential use in SOFCs operating with H2S and sulfur-containing fuels. Cermets from this family of materials have shown excellent chemical stability and electrochemical performance at typical SOFC operating conditions. As an added benefit, they appear to preferentially oxidize H2S over hydrogen, as suggested by open circuit voltage, impedance spectra, and cell performance measurements obtained using various H2S-H2-N2 fuel mixtures. Cell power output values were among the highest reported in the literature and showed no significant deterioration during 48-hour testing periods. Impedance measurements indicated overall cell resistances decreased with increasing temperature and H2S content of the fuel. This behavior is starkly different from that of contemporary SOFC anodes, where the presence of H2S usually increases overall polarization resistance and ultimately destroys the cell. Results are promising due to the drastic improvement in sulfur tolerance compared to the current generation of SOFC power systems.