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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/I037059/1
Title: Modelling Accelerated Ageing and Degradation of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (MAAD-SOFC)
Principal Investigator: Ormerod, Professor RM
Other Investigators:
KIM, Dr J Bujalski, Dr W
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Faculty of Natural Sciences
Organisation: Keele University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 03 October 2011 Ends: 31 August 2015 Value (£): 574,816
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fuel Cell Technologies
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
15 Mar 2011 India-UK Collaborative Research Initiative in Fuel Cells Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
A major hurdle in the successful commercialization of SOFCs is the degradation of the cell and stack components over long exposures at the high operating temperatures. Lifetime and reliability are two of the most critical issues for the success of SOFC systems. An SOFC system is supposed to run for several thousand hours without significant degradation in the output power. To assess lifetime of an SOFC, long-term tests are needed. Due to the enormous experimental efforts necessary to conduct such measurements with statistical confidence, the development of cells with improved durability is time-consuming and thus expensive. Another challenge is the analysis of the tested cells with respect to the physical failure mechanisms. As the total damage achieved during long-term tests is often low, the dominant degradation process is difficult to identify. In reliability engineering, accelerated life testing (ALT) is a well known method to address these problems. In an ALT, the life data obtained from aggravated test conditions are extrapolated to normal operating conditions by means of a model which fits the data to an appropriate life distribution and uses a life-stress relationship to project the life at normal operating conditions. One of the crucial factors in ALT is that the degradation mechanism should not change on aggravation of the test parameters. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the degradation mechanism SOFCs at the different operating conditions. Though possible, it is very challenging to predict such mechanisms. This necessitates the development of proper models which can predict the degradation mechanism. A model validated with experimental evidences can serve as a useful tool to understand the degradation mechanism of SOFCs and hence will help designing SOFCs with required degradation rate to sustain the operation challenges. The major factors which influence the degradation of SOFCs are temperature, thermal cycling, redox, load cycling and poisoning effects from fuel contaminants such as sulphur and carbon. Therefore, the effect of these factors will also have to be studied and integrated with ALT studies. The understanding gained on degradation from these experiments and the developed model can be utilized to develop new materials which can perform at the same level but at lower temperatures and also have better redox and poison (sulphur/carbon) tolerance.
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Organisation Website: http://www.keele.ac.uk