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Operation of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell on Biodiesel With a Partial Oxidation Reformer

[+] Author Affiliations
Nicholas Siefert, Dushyant Shekhawat, Randall Gemmen

National Energy Technology Laboratory, Morgantown, WV

Edward Robey, Richard Bergen, Daniel Haynes, Kevin Moore, Mark Williams

URS Corporation, Morgantown, WV

Mark Smith

REM Engineering Services, Morgantown, WV

Paper No. FuelCell2010-33326, pp. 371-376; 6 pages
  • ASME 2010 8th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • ASME 2010 8th International Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology Conference: Volume 1
  • Brooklyn, New York, USA, June 14–16, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4404-5 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3875-4
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


The National Energy Technology Laboratory’s Office of Research & Development (NETL/ORD) has successfully demonstrated the operation of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) using reformed biodiesel. The biodiesel for the project was produced and characterized by West Virginia State University (WVSU). This project had two main aspects: 1) demonstrate a catalyst formulation on monolith for biodiesel fuel reforming; and 2) establish SOFC stack test stand capabilities. Both aspects have been completed successfully. For the first aspect, in–house patented catalyst specifications were developed, fabricated and tested. Parametric reforming studies of biofuels provided data on fuel composition, catalyst degradation, syngas composition, and operating parameters required for successful reforming and integration with the SOFC test stand. For the second aspect, a stack test fixture (STF) for standardized testing, developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) for the Solid Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) Program, was engineered and constructed at NETL. To facilitate the demonstration of the STF, NETL employed H.C. Starck Ceramics GmbH & Co. (Germany) anode supported solid oxide cells. In addition, anode supported cells, SS441 end plates, and cell frames were transferred from PNNL to NETL. The stack assembly and conditioning procedures, including stack welding and sealing, contact paste application, binder burn-out, seal-setting, hot standby, and other stack assembly and conditioning methods were transferred to NETL. In the future, fuel cell stacks provided by SECA or other developers could be tested at the STF to validate SOFC performance on various fuels. The STF operated on hydrogen for over 1000 hrs before switching over to reformed biodiesel for 100 hrs of operation. Combining these first two aspects led to demonstrating the biodiesel syngas in the STF. A reformer was built and used to convert 0.5 ml/min of biodiesel into mostly hydrogen and carbon monoxide (syngas.) The syngas was fed to the STF and fuel cell stack. The results presented in this experimental report document one of the first times a SOFC has been operated on syngas from reformed biodiesel.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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