U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Journal of Power Sources 336 (2016), pp. 54-62.


U.S. government work.


Various in situ probes of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) have advanced recently to provide detailed, real time data regarding materials and chemical processes that relate to device performance and degradation. These techniques offer insights into complex fuel chemistry at the anode in particular, especially in the context of model predictions. However, cell-to-cell variations can hinder mechanistic interpretations of measurements from separate, independent techniques. The present study describes an in situ technique that for the first time simultaneously measures surface temperature changes using near infrared thermal imaging and gas species using Fourier-transform infrared emission spectra at the anodes of operating SOFCs. Electrolyte-supported SOFCs with Ni-based anodes are operated at 700 C with internal, dryreformed methane at 75% maximum current and at open circuit voltage (OCV) while electrochemical and optical measurements are collected. At OCV, more cooling is observed coincident with more CO reforming products. Under load, CO decreases while the anode cools less, especially near the current collectors. The extent of cooling is more sensitive to polarization for electrolyte-supported cells because their anodes are thinner relative to anode-supported cells. This study exemplifies how this duplex technique can be a useful probe of electrochemical processes in SOFCs.