Method to Fabricate Micro-channel Array Structured Micro-tubular Solid Oxide Cells


Reference #: 01162


The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for microchannel array structured microtubular solid oxide cells with improved power density and efficiency.




Typical microtubular anode-substrates prepared in open literature have the feature of multiple-layered microstructures, where a sponge-like layer is sandwiched by two thick finger-like layers on either side, and the inner and outer surfaces of the micro-tube are covered by thin but relatively dense skin layers. The thick finger-like layers are embedded with large continuous finger-like pores perpendicular to the sponge-like layer, whereas both the sponge-like layer and the skin layers contain small and non-continuous pores, and the resultant porosity is very low. The anode-substrates with such microstructures show disadvantages for facile fuel/gas transport. This in turn limits electrochemical performance of micro-tubular cells especially at the operating conditions of large current densities. The fabrication of electrolyte layer on the anode-substrate is another critical step towards making the devices. The thin and dense electrolyte is desired in order to obtain high open circuit voltage and improved energy conversion efficiency. However, it is very difficult for the technologies in open literature to fabricate thin and dense electrolyte (e.g., SDC) on the microtubular anode substrates. This technology overcomes this hurdle and is able to fabricate thin (~10 µm) and dense electrolyte on the developed anode substrate.


Invention Description:


The subject invention uses a novel fabrication approach to develop microtubular solid oxide cells with a microchannel array embedded in the substrate. The micro-channel array is perpendicular to the microtubular surface and may significantly reduce resistance for fuel/gas transport and increase effective surface area for electrochemical reactions.


Potential Applications:


This technique can be used to fabricate functional ceramic devices for energy conversion and storage such as solid oxide fuel cells, solid oxide electrolysis cells, redox flow batteries, and gas separation membranes. Such devices have wide industrial applications including clean-coal technology, automotive technology, microelectronics, waste water treatment, hospital equipment.


Advantages and Benefits:


The microchannel array is generated in the microtubular substrate to obtain facial fuel/gas transport and increase effective surface area for electrochemical reactions, and as a result, significantly improves cell performance. The invention can lower expenses, increasing power density and efficiency, and overcome limitations of current microtubular solid oxide cell designs.




The solid oxide fuel cell devices have been fabricated based this invention and the performance of the device has been successfully measured.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Xingjian Xue
Chunlei Ren
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