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Fuel cells will undoubtedly find widespread use in this new millennium in the conversion of chemical to electrical energy, as they offer very high efficiencies and have unique scalability in electricity generation applications. The solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is one of the most exciting of these energy technologies; it is an all-ceramic device that operates at temperatures in the range 500-1000ºC. The SOFC offers certain advantages over lower temperature fuel cells, notably its ability to utilise CO as a fuel rather than being poisoned and the availability of high-grade exhaust heat for combined heat and power or combined cycle gas turbine applications. Although cost is clearly the most important barrier to widespread SOFC implementation, perhaps the most important technical barriers currently being addressed relate to the electrodes, particularly the fuel electrode or anode. In terms of mitigating global warming, the ability of the SOFC to utilise commonly available fuels at high efficiency, promises an effective and early reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and hence is one of the lead new technologies to improve the environment. Herein, we discuss recent developments of SOFC fuel electrodes that will enable the better utilisation of readily available fuels.
Date Posted: 25 January 2006
This document has been peer reviewed.