Thermal partial oxidation of n-butane in a micro-flow reactor and solid oxide fuel cell stability assessment

Brent B. Skabelund, Hisashi Nakamura, Takuya Tezuka, Kaoru Maruta, Jeongmin Ahn, Ryan J. Milcarek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The direct use of n-butane in solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems has been challenging due to high performance degradation and/or failure due to carbon deposition on the anode. Previous works have explored SOFCs with expensive integrated catalysts to promote the longevity of the SOFC, but few have achieved significant operating hours. In this work, a SOFC with no integrated catalyst is fed n-butane for 288 h utilizing a novel micro fuel reformer. The impact of temperature (800–900 °C), total flow rate (10–50 mL.min−1), and equivalence ratio (1–5) on the thermal partial oxidation of n-butane in the micro-flow reactor are characterized. A literature review of n-butane fueled SOFC systems confirms that the 288-hour long term stability test achieved in this study is among the longest conducted with a low voltage degradation of 0.00034 V.h−1. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of the SOFC anode confirm no carbon deposition occurred on the surface. Microscale partial oxidation with light internal reforming provides an alternative to traditional catalytic oxidation and internal reforming SOFC systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115222
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
StatePublished - Feb 15 2022


  • Flame-assisted fuel cell (FFC)
  • Micro flow reactor
  • Microcombustion
  • Partial oxidation
  • Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Thermal partial oxidation of n-butane in a micro-flow reactor and solid oxide fuel cell stability assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this