Performance investigation of a micro-tubular flame-assisted fuel cell stack with 3,000 rapid thermal cycles

Ryan J. Milcarek, Michael J. Garrett, Thomas S. Welles, Jeongmin Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Solid oxide fuel cell research and development has faced challenges with slow startup, slow shutdown and a limited number of thermal cycles, which hinders the technology in areas like micro-combined heat and power. A novel micro combined heat and power system, based on a boiler/hot water heater with integrated micro-tubular flame assisted fuel cells (mT-FFCs), is proposed which requires rapid startup, shutdown and thousands of thermal cycles. A 9 cell mT-FFC stack is developed and operated in a two-stage combustor. Rapid startup and shutdown of the fuel cells is demonstrated. The first-stage combustor is ignited, turned off and re-ignited for a total of 3000 on/off, thermal cycles. A maximum heating rate of 966 °C.min−1 and a maximum cooling rate of 353 °C.min−1 is achieved while thermal cycling. Despite the presence of CO in the exhaust, the anode remains porous and crack free after ∼150 h of thermal cycling testing. The mT-FFC stack continues to generate significant power, even after completing the cycling test, and a low voltage degradation rate is reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-93
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Flame-assisted fuel cell (FFC)
  • Lean-burn (RQL) combustor
  • Micro-combined heat and power (micro-CHP)
  • Micro-tubular solid oxide fuel cell (mT-SOFC)
  • Quick-mix
  • Rich-burn
  • Two-stage burner

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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