GRC-QL-0016

High-Power Density Solid Oxide Fuel Cell and Fabrication Process

Center: Glenn Research Center

Category: Power Generation and Storage

Patent: 7,534,519

Inventor: Thomas L. Cable

 

NASA Technology Page

Invention Overview:

This invention is a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that generates power for multiple applications (“fuel cell mode”) or it can be used to synthesize hydrogen (“electrolysis mode”). It can operate at high temperatures (> 800 degrees Celsius). SOFC are the most versatile fuel cells as they can operate using multiple types of fuel. This SOFC incorporates a bi-electrode support design which means that there are fewer moving parts (fewer electrodes in the design) and is fabricated in a unique way - using ceramic materials and a novel freeze-tape casting method, allowing for the fabrication of a ceramic with greater control, porosity, and reduction in compositional changes during casting

  

Stage:

Component/subsystem validation in laboratory environment.  Standalone prototyping implementation and test. Integration of technology elements. Experiments with full-scale problems or data sets.

 

Application(s):

Power generation industry: portable power, ground and aerospace transportation, & utility power

Industrial applications: hydrogen production for sale and for chemical manufacturing & freeze-tape casting for fabrication of ceramic materials

 

Differentiators:

  • Highest specific power density (1kW/kg)- 5X the power density of a normal power cell, allowing for more power to be stored in each cell due to the novel fabrication process

Invention Disadvantages and Possible Mitigation:

The SOFC market is quite crowded and therefore, GRC-QL-0016 will need to enter into a less crowded portion of the market, such as the aerospace industry where high power density SOFCs such as this one will be required