Fuel cells are devices that convert chemical energy in hydrogen enriched fuels into electricity electrochemically. Micro-tubular solid oxide fuel cells (MT-SOFCs), the type pioneered by K. Kendall in the early 1990s, are a variety of SOFCs that are on the scale of millimetres compared to their much larger SOFC relatives that are typically on the scale of tens of centimetres. The main advantage of the MT-SOFC, over its larger predecessor, is that it is smaller in size and is more suitable for rapid start up. This may allow the SOFC to be used in devices such as auxiliary power units, automotive power supplies, mobile electricity generators and battery re-chargers. The following paper is Part I of a two part series. Part I will introduce the reader to the MT-SOFC stack and its applications, indicating who is researching what in this field and also specifically investigate the design issues related to multi-cell reactor systems called stacks. Part II will review in detail the combinations of materials and methods used to produce the electrodes and electrolytes of MT-SOFC's. Also the role of modelling and validation techniques used in the design and improvement of the electrodes and electrolytes will be investigated. A broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines are involved in a stack design. Scientific and engineering content has been discussed in the areas of thermal-self-sustainability and efficiency, sealing technologies, manifold design, electrical connections and cell performance optimisation.
- Micro-tubular SOFC stack
- Solid oxide fuel cell