A thermally self-sustaining miniature solid oxide fuel cell

Jeongmin Ahn, Paul D. Ronney, Zongping Shao, Sossina M. Haile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


A thermally self-sustaining miniature power generation device was developed utilizing a single-chamber solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) placed in a controlled thermal environment provided by a spiral counterflow "Swiss roll" heat exchanger and combustor. With the single-chamber design, fuel/oxygen crossover due to cracking of seals via thermal cycling is irrelevant and coking on the anode is practically eliminated. Appropriate SOFC operating temperatures were maintained even at low Reynolds numbers (Re) via combustion of the fuel cell effluent at the center of the Swiss roll. Both propane and higher hydrocarbon fuels were examined. Extinction limits and thermal behavior of the integrated system were determined in equivalence ratio - Re parameter space and an optimal regime for SOFC operation were identified. SOFC power densities up to 420 mW/cm2 were observed at low Re. These results suggest that single-chamber SOFCs integrated with heat-recirculating combustors may be a viable approach for small-scale power generation devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410041-410044
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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