Micro-tubular flame-assisted fuel cells running methane, propane and butane: On soot, efficiency and power density

Ryan J. Milcarek, Jeongmin Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


A two-stage combustor with 1st-stage premixed fuel-rich combustion, integrated micro-tubular flame-assisted fuel cell (FFC) and 2nd-stage, fuel-lean combustion is described. The current state of research in direct flame fuel cells (DFFCs) is assessed and the dilemma of obtaining high power density, high electrical efficiency and no soot is discussed. A method for deriving the maximum theoretical electrical efficiency from a FFC based system is developed. A method for comparing methane, propane and butane in the two-stage combustor with integrated FFC is developed. Methane, propane and butane are tested at different equivalence ratios and flow rates to assess the power density and electrical efficiency. High power density (>300 mW cm−2) and high electrical efficiency (>1.2%) are achieved for equivalence ratios below 1.6. Methane is found to achieve higher power density and electrical efficiency at lower equivalence ratios compared to propane and butane. Soot formation is avoided by operating below the critical sooting limit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)776-782
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019


  • Solid oxide fuel cell
  • Syngas
  • Two-stage combustion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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