Micro-tubular flame-assisted fuel cells

Ryan J. Milcarek, Michael J. Garrett, Jeongmin Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Micro-tubular solid oxide fuel cells operating in fuel-rich combustion exhaust are explored in this work and their benefits in reducing the balance of plant in fuel cell systems is discussed. The current state of performance of these micro-tubular flame-assisted fuel cells operating with methane fuel is described and the benefits of operating in propane fuel are explored. An experimental investigation of propane combustion at different fuel/air equivalence ratios is conducted. Temperature measurements of the propane combustion are recorded with thermocouples while the gas species present in the exhaust are measured with a gas chromatograph. Propane is found to have advantages over methane due to a higher upper flammability limit and higher percentages of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, i.e. syngas, generated in the combustion exhaust. A micro-tubular flame-assisted fuel cell is tested using the four probe technique in model propane combustion exhaust at different equivalence ratios and temperatures. A method for comparing the performance of the fuel cell in the combustion exhaust to a hydrogen fuel baseline is developed and comparisons are made. The benefits of operating in propane compared to methane are explored with the potential for fuels like propane and butane being distinguished by their higher upper flammability limits and potential for higher concentrations of syngas in the combustion exhaust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Fluid Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Fuel cell stack
  • Fuel-rich combustion
  • Micro combined heat and power
  • Micro-tubular flame-assisted fuel cell
  • Solid oxide fuel cell
  • Upper flammability limit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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