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Multi-modal porous microstructure for high temperature fuel cell application

: Wejrzanowski, T.; Haj Ibrahim, S.; Cwieka, K.; Löffler, Markus; Milewski, J.V.; Zschech, Ehrenfried; Lee, C.-G.


Journal of power sources 373 (2018), pp.85-94
ISSN: 0378-7753
ISSN: 1873-2755
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IKTS ()
open-porous material; multi-modal structure; high temperature fuel cell; micro-computed tomography; Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC)

In this study, the effect of microstructure of porous nickel electrode on the performance of high temperature fuel cell is investigated and presented based on a molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) cathode. The cathode materials are fabricated from slurry consisting of nickel powder and polymeric binder/solvent mixture, using the tape casting method. The final pore structure is shaped through modifying the slurry composition - with or without the addition of porogen(s). The manufactured materials are extensively characterized by various techniques involving: micro-computed tomography (micro-XCT), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), mercury porosimetry, BET and Archimedes method. Tomographic images are also analyzed and quantified to reveal the evolution of pore space due to nickel in situ oxidation to NiO, and infiltration by the electrolyte. Single-cell performance tests are carried out under MCFC operation conditions to estimate the performance of the manufactured materials. It is found that the multi-modal microstructure of MCFC cathode results in a significant enhancement of the power density generated by the reference cell. To give greater insight into the understanding of the effect of microstructure on the properties of the cathode, a model based on 3D tomography image transformation is proposed.