Formulating liquid hydrocarbon fuels for SOFCs

Gary Saunders, JM Preece, Kevin Kendall

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62 Citations (Scopus)


The injection of liquid hydrocarbons directly into an SOFC system is considered for application to hybrid vehicles. The main problem is carbon deposition on the nickel anode when molecules such as ethanol or iso-octane are injected directly. Such carbon deposition has been studied using a microtubular SOFC with a mass spectrometer analysing the product gases to investigate the reaction sequence and also to investigate the deposited carbon by temperature programmed oxidation (TPO). The results show that only two liquids could be injected directly onto nickel cermet anodes without serious carbon blockage, methanol and methanoic acid. Even then, TPO experiments revealed deposition of small amounts of carbon which could be prevented by small additions of air or water to the fuel. Gasoline type molecules like iso-octane killed the SOFC in about 30 min operation, with about 90% of the molecular carbon being deposited on the nickel cermet anode. However, certain mixtures of iso-octane, water, alcohol and surfactant were found to produce beneficial results with remarkably low carbon deposition, less than 1% of the molecular carbon appearing on the anode. Such formulations had octane numbers appropriate to internal combustion engine operation. (C) 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-26
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2004


  • alcohol fuels
  • iso-octane
  • carbon deposition
  • microtubular SOFC
  • TPO


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