The Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC) is one of the most mature and efficient fuel cell technologies. The MCFC operates at high temperatures (580 up to 650°C), therefore, in contrast to low-temperature fuel cells, not only H2 but also H2+CO gas mixtures, natural or biogas can be used without noble metal catalyst. However, highly corrosive molten alkali carbonate electrolyte promotes degradation of the MCFC-components and limits their lifetime currently to approximately five years. Further lifetime extension is essential for a wide application of the technology and requires substantial efforts on the development of novel materials.
The research of the working group “Materials MCFC”, newly-founded in frame of the Fraunhofer Attract Program, is concentrated on addressing the following problems:
- Decreasing the solubility of matrix and cathode materials and reducing the particles growth in the carbonate melt with different additions
- Investigation of the wetting behavior of molten carbonates depending on their temperature and composition
- Quantitative understanding of molten electrolyte interaction with ceramic/metallic materials during the MCFC-operation
Resolving these problems will contribute not only to extending MCFC lifetime, but also to further development of materials for high-temperature thermal and electrochemical energy storage systems, whose performance critically depends on the interaction between corrosive melt and ceramic/metallic materials.
- Development of novel materials for systems with molten electrolytes
- Immersion tests of the powders in electrolyte melts
- Preparation and degradation tests of lab-scale cathode-, anode-half cells and stacks
- In-situ electrochemical impedance spectroscopy of the half-cells and stacks
- High throughput test rigs for the characterization of:
- Cathode and anode half-cells
- Lab-scale MCFC-Stacks
- Materials creep behavior
- Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurement stations