Direct operation of solid oxide fuel cells with methane fuel

Yuanbo Lin, Zhongliang Zhan, Jiang Liu, Scott A. Barnett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

383 Scopus citations


The operation of Ni-YSZ anode supported SOFCs on methane fuel is described. Power densities as high as 0.52 W/cm2 at 700 °C and 1.27 W/cm2 at 800 °C were observed. Open circuit voltages (OCV) increased with increasing temperature to nearly 1.2 V, in good agreement with equilibrium calculations. Measurements of direct-methane SOFC stability showed that at lower temperatures, ≤ 700 °C, stable operation without coking occurred over a wide range of current densities. At higher temperatures, increasingly large currents were required to avoid coking and cell failure. In electrochemical impedance spectra, two electrode arcs were observed with the higher frequency arc increasing in size when the fuel was switched from hydrogen to methane. Mass spectrometer measurements showed that the expected reaction products-H2, H2O, CO, and CO2-all increased with increasing cell current density. The dominant products at 800 °C were H2 and CO, in agreement with thermodynamic predictions. Reasons for stable coke-free direct methane operation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1827-1835
Number of pages9
JournalSolid State Ionics
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Direct methane operation
  • Ni-YSZ anode-supported
  • Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)
  • Thin YSZ electrolyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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