Electrolytic effect in solid oxide fuel cells running on steam/methane mixture

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17 Citations (Scopus)


A two-dimensional model is developed to study the performance of a planar solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) running on steam/methane mixture. The model considers the heat/mass transfer, electrochemical reactions, direct internal reforming of methane (CH4), and water gas shift reaction in an SOFC. It is found that at an operating potential of 0.8 V, the upstream and downstream of SOFC work in electrolysis and fuel cell modes, respectively. At the open-circuit voltage, the electricity generated by the downstream part of SOFC is completely consumed by the upstream through electrolysis, which is contrary to our common understanding that electrochemical reactions cease under the open-circuit conditions. In order to inhibit the electrolytic effect, the SOFC can be operated at a lower potential or use partially pre-reformed CH4as the fuel. Increasing the inlet gas velocity from 0.5 m s-1to 5.0 m s-1does not reduce the electrolytic effect but decreases the SOFC performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2027-2036
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2011


  • Electrochemistry
  • Electrolysis
  • Internal reforming
  • Natural gas
  • Porous media
  • Solid oxide fuel cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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