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Structure of solid oxide fuel cell

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Structure of solid oxide fuel cell


Disclosed is a structure of a solid oxide fuel cell, including a porous tubular anode support having a plurality of through holes, and an electrolyte layer and a cathode layer sequentially formed on the inner surface of the tubular anode support, so that fuel flows via the plurality of through holes and air flows through the inside of the cathode layer, thus increasing a diffusion rate of fuel and air to thereby increase the reaction rate, resulting in excellent cell performance. This structure eliminates the flow of fuel and air around the outside of the fuel cell, thus preventing the formation of an oxidizing atmosphere at the inside and outside of the tubular cell, thereby increasing lifespan of the cell and ensuring cell reliability.
Related Terms: Excell Electrolyte Excel Fusion Cathode Diffusion Fuel Cell Anode Structure Of A Solid Structure Of Solid

Browse recent Samsung Electro-mechanics Co., Ltd. patents - Gyunggi-do, KR
Inventors: Jae Hyoung GIL, Jae Hyuk JANG, Kyong Bok MIN, Sung Han KIM, Eon Soo LEE
USPTO Applicaton #: #20130011767 - Class: 429497 (USPTO) - 01/10/13 - Class 429 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20130011767, Structure of solid oxide fuel cell.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/610,118 filed Oct. 30, 2009, entitled “Structure Of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell”, which claims priority to Korean Patent Application No. 10-2009-0081190, filed Aug. 31, 2009, entitled “Solid oxide fuel cell structure”, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety into this application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to a structure of a solid oxide fuel cell.

2. Description of the Related Art

As environmental pollution gradually increases, global warming problems are becoming more serious. For this reason, the Kyoto protocol was adopted in 1997 in order to set guidelines for the reduction of carbon dioxide emission and to handle energy-related environmental problems in earnest. Thus, fuel cell technology which exhibits high cell performance and is environmentally friendly is receiving renewed attention.

A fuel cell is a device for directly converting the chemical energy of fuel (hydrogen, LNG, LPG, etc.) and air into electric power and heat using an electrochemical reaction. Unlike conventional techniques for generating power including combusting fuel, generating steam, driving a turbine and driving a power generator, the fuel cell neither undergoes a combustion procedure nor requires an operator and is thus regarded as a novel power generation technique which results in high cell performance without being accompanied by any concomitant environmental problems. The fuel cell discharges very small amounts of air pollutants such as SOx and NOx and also generates a small amount of carbon dioxide and is thus a pollution-free power generator, and is furthermore advantageous in terms of producing very little noise and not causing any vibrations.

The fuel cell includes for example a phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC), an alkaline fuel cell (AFC), a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and so on. In particular, the SOFC exhibits high power generation efficiency because of low overvoltage based on activation polarization and low irreversible loss. Furthermore, the SOFC is advantageous because various types of fuel, such as hydrogen, carbon and a hydrocarbon, may be used, and also because the reaction rate at the electrodes is high, thus obviating the need to use an expensive noble metal as an electrode catalyst. Moreover, the temperature of the heat generated during power generation is very high, and thus the heat is very usable. In addition, heat generated from the SOFC is used to reform fuel and may also be utilized as an energy source for industrial purposes or for air cooling in a cogeneration system. Hence, the SOFC is essential for realizing the hydrogen-based society of the future.

In accordance with the operating principle of the SOFC, the SOFC typically generates power through the oxidation of hydrogen or carbon monoxide, and the reactions at the anode and cathode are represented by Reaction 1 below.

Anode: H2+O2−→H2O+2O+2e

CO+O2−→CO2+2e

Cathode: O2+4e→2O2−

Overall Reaction: H2+½O2→H2O   Reaction 1

In the above reactions, electrons are delivered to the cathode through an external circuit, and simultaneously the oxygen ion generated at the cathode is transferred to the anode through an electrolyte. At the anode, hydrogen or carbon monoxide is combined with the oxygen ion, thus producing electrons and water or carbon dioxide.

Many attempts have been made to improve the structure of the SOFC in order to inhibit the oxidation of the material to thereby more efficiently exhibit cell performance over a long period of time. Examples of the structure of a conventional SOFC include a planar type, a tubular type, a flat tubular type, a honeycomb type, a delta type, etc. The structures thereof are classified into a cathode-supported structure and an anode-supported structure depending on whether the support is made of a cathode material or an anode to material.

In the case of a general cathode-supported tubular fuel cell, while air flows through the inside of the tubular cell and fuel flows around the outside of the tubular cell, an electrochemical reaction ensues. Such a cathode-supported tubular fuel cell is problematic in that the cathode material is expensive, but is advantageous because the outside atmosphere of the tubular cell is a hydrogen atmosphere and thus a current collector such as a nickel pelt, an interconnector and so on may not be oxidized, resulting in extended cell lifespan and reliability.

However, when a support is made using a comparatively inexpensive cathode material, hydrogen fuel passes through the inside of the tubular cell and air flows around the outside of the tubular cell, so that a current collection material outside the tubular cell is oxidized when the cell is operated for a long time. In order to prevent this problem, an expensive current collection material is required.

Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication No. 2003-297388 discloses a fuel cell structure in which an electrode is disposed inside the tubular cell and a plurality of holes is formed in an anode, thus supplying fuel through the holes. Although this structure may improve the collection of current, it suffers from the above-mentioned oxidation problem and the cell lifespan similar to that of the conventional cell structure.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention has been made keeping in mind the problems related to the oxidation of an SOFC in the related art and is intended to provide a novel structure of an anode-supported SOFC which exhibits high cell performance and an extended lifespan.

Also the present invention is intended to provide a novel structure of a cathode-supported SOFC.

An aspect of the present invention provides a tubular SOFC, including a porous tubular anode support having a plurality of through holes formed to enable fuel to flow in a longitudinal direction thereof, an electrolyte layer disposed on an inner surface of the tubular anode support, and a cathode layer disposed on an inner surface of the electrolyte layer.

In this aspect, a fuel impermeable anode layer may be formed on an outer surface of the tubular anode support.

In this aspect, the tubular SOFC has a cross-section of any one shape selected from the group consisting of a circular shape, a polygonal shape and a rounded rectangular shape.

In this aspect, the tubular SOFC having a cross-section of the rounded rectangular shape may have one or more bridges formed at the cathode layer.

In this aspect, the plurality of through holes of the anode support may extend in an axial longitudinal direction of the tubular SOFC and may have a honeycomb shape in cross-section.

Another aspect of the present invention provides a tubular SOFC, including a porous tubular cathode support having a plurality of through holes formed to enable fuel to flow in a longitudinal direction thereof, an electrolyte layer disposed on an inner surface of the tubular cathode support, and an anode layer disposed on an inner surface of the electrolyte layer.

In this aspect, an air impermeable cathode layer may be formed on an outer surface of the tubular cathode support.

In this aspect, the tubular SOFC may have a cross-section of any one shape selected from the group consisting of a circular shape, a polygonal shape and a rounded rectangular shape.

In this aspect, the tubular SOFC having a cross-section of the rounded rectangular shape may have one or more bridges formed at the anode layer.

In this aspect, the plurality of through holes of the cathode support may extend in an axial longitudinal direction of the tubular SOFC and may have a honeycomb shape in cross-section.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features and advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a transverse cross-sectional view schematically showing an anode-supported tubular SOFC according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view schematically showing an anode-supported tubular SOFC according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a transverse cross-sectional view schematically showing an anode-supported flat tubular SOFC according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a transverse cross-sectional view schematically showing a cathode-supported tubular SOFC according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view schematically showing a cathode-supported tubular SOFC according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a transverse cross-sectional view schematically showing a cathode-supported flat tubular SOFC according to the present invention; and

FIGS. 7 and 8 are cross-sectional views showing the through holes of the tubular SOFC according to the present invention.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20130011767 A1
Publish Date
01/10/2013
Document #
13620203
File Date
09/14/2012
USPTO Class
429497
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
01M8/10
Drawings
5


Excell
Electrolyte
Excel
Fusion
Cathode
Diffusion
Fuel Cell
Anode
Structure Of A Solid
Structure Of Solid


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