A compact and seal-less direct carbon solid oxide fuel cell stack stepping into practical application

Qianyang Chen, Qianyuan Qiu, Xiaomin Yan, Mingyang Zhou, Yapeng Zhang, Zhijun Liu, Weizi Cai, Wei Wang, Jiang Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The direct carbon solid oxide fuel cell is a potential technology that efficiently and cleanly converts the chemical energy of solid carbon into electricity. Its superiority of all-solid-state configuration and unique operating mechanism indicate that it has a good application prospect in high energy density portable or backup power supplys. It can also be used to convert coal into electrical power. Here, for the first time, we report a compact direct carbon solid oxide fuel cell stack with 12 cells fabricated on a single 10 × 10 cm electrolyte plate. The plate covers a container filled with solid carbon-rich fuel to form a stack. No sealant and pipelines are needed and the carbon-rich fuel can be reloaded. Both activated carbon and sawdust of bauhinia tree branch are used as the fuel. The output power of such a stack approaches more than 10 W at 800 °C. Using 15 g of 5 wt% Fe-loaded activated carbon as the fuel, a stack discharging at a constant current of 1.5 A outputs an energy of 29 Wh, correspongding to an energy desnity of carbon of ∼2000 Wh kg−1. This work shows the feasibility of developing direct carbon solid oxide fuel cell into a compact electricity generator using readily available carbon-rich fuels. It also shows promise of using this technology in clean and efficient conversion of coal to electricity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115657
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Biomass
  • Carbon fuel
  • Cell stack
  • Coal
  • Electrolyte plate
  • Solid oxide fuel cell


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