Direct utilization of biofuels in solid oxide fuel cells for sustainable and decentralized production of electric power and heat (DIRECTBIOPOWER)

Solid oxide fuel cells are typically fed with reformed natural gas and operate at relatively high temperature (~800 °C) whereas utilization of a large variety of hydrocarbons, including biofuels, and a reduction of the operating temperature are desired to increase the flexibility of these energy conversion systems. In parallel, new approaches are needed to promote the direct oxidation of hydrocarbons in SOFCs in order to reduce system complexity and related costs and to improve reliability.

Solid oxide fuel cells suffer from the direct utilization of fuels different from H2 and reformed methane. The occurrence of carbon deposits at the anode, in the absence of a proper pre-reforming step, with consequent anode catalyst poisoning and delamination, is a well-known drawback.

The objective of DIRECTBIOPOWER is to develop a new generation solid oxide fuel cell stack based on advanced ceramic materials for the direct utilization of biofuels to reduce the complexity of the balance-of-plant and produce electrical power and heat with high overall efficiency. The system should be characterized by a high sulfur tolerance, long life-time perspective, capability to sustain redox-thermal cycles as well as load cycles.


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