Review of fuels for direct carbon fuel cells


In this paper, the current status of direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) technology has been reviewed. Recent promising advances in the design of fuel cells has resulted in a reprisal of research into the DCFC technology. As a result, more is understood about the roles of species and mechanisms that govern the performance of DCFC systems. Of particular interest to industry and researchers are the direct carbon molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) arrangements, with the bulk of research articles and large-scale investment focused on these DCFC types. However, the variety of fuels used and trialled within these fuel cells is limited. This is especially true for the SOFC arrangement, with the overwhelming fuel of choice for researchers being carbon black and light gases for industry. The application of more readily available and cheaper fuels in this type of DCFC is unassessed. This review addresses this gap in the literature by reviewing all fuels tested in direct carbon MCFC and SOFC systems, in particular critically evaluating low-rank coals and biomass, among other alternative fuels. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Energy and Fuels