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Rayman S.,University of South Carolina | Koslowske M.T.,CellTech Power Inc. | Bateman L.,CellTech Power Inc. | Tao T.T.,CellTech Power Inc. | White R.E.,University of South Carolina
ECS Transactions | Year: 2011

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) can convert the chemical energy stored in hydrocarbon fuels directly into electricity bypassing the many energy transfers that normally occur, (chemical→ heat (steam boiler)→ mechanical (turbine)→ electrical (generator)), when hydrocarbon fuels are combusted to produce electricity. CellTech Power has developed a liquid tin anode (LTA) SOFC that is not damaged by fuels that contain sulfur. This paper develops an analytical electrochemical impedance spectroscopy model from first principals for the the LTA-SOFC anode half cell. The model is in conjunction with experimental data to determine; the average Ohmic resistance, 8.81mΩ, average steady state concentration of tin oxide in liquid tin, 1.09E-9 mol/cm 3, effective diffusion coefficient of tin oxide through liquid tin, 0.198 cm 2/s, and the pre-exponential factor for the butler volmer equation 2.92E5 C*cm/mol/s. ©The Electrochemical Society.


Tao T.,CellTech Power Inc. | Koslowske M.,CellTech Power Inc. | Bentley J.,CellTech Power Inc. | Brodie J.,CellTech Power Inc.
ECS Transactions | Year: 2012

This paper presents preliminary results of various non-food biomass conversions to electricity in a Liquid Tin Anode Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (LTA-SOFC). A major finding favoring direct biomass conversion was that biomass fuel utilization approached near 100%, 99% and 95% for biochar, poplar, and switch grass respectively. Another key finding with positive implications was that biomass ash formed in the LTA-SOFC environment did not readily fuse or form molten slag. SEM evaluation clearly showed that the cellular structure of corncob, poplar and switch grass was intact following operation in the LTA-SOFC, indicating that no melting has occurred. Another important finding was that there was no observed cell degradation during the short term biomass operation. The initial IV curves and total runtime data appeared normal for LTA-SOFC cells running on a fixed charge of biomass. Long term stability of LTA-SOFC operating on biomass yet has to be studied. Finally, the initial power density of the LTA-SOFC test cells operating on biomass fuels was approximately 70-80 mW/cm2. ©The Electrochemical Society.


Abernathy H.,U.S. National Energy Technology Laboratory | Gemmen R.,U.S. National Energy Technology Laboratory | Gerdes K.,U.S. National Energy Technology Laboratory | Koslowske M.,CellTech Power Inc. | Tao T.,CellTech Power Inc.
Journal of Power Sources | Year: 2011

An unconventional high temperature fuel cell system, the liquid tin anode solid oxide fuel cell (LTA-SOFC), is discussed. A thermodynamic analysis of a solid oxide fuel cell with a liquid metal anode is developed. Pertinent thermochemical and thermophysical properties of liquid tin in particular are detailed. An experimental setup for analysis of LTA-SOFC anode kinetics is described, and data for a planar cell under hydrogen indicated an effective oxygen diffusion coefficient of 5.3 × 10-5 cm2 s-1 at 800 °C and 8.9 × 10-5 cm2 s-1 at 900 °C. This value is similar to previously reported literature values for liquid tin. The oxygen conductivity through the tin, calculated from measured diffusion coefficients and theoretical oxygen solubility limits, is found to be on the same order of that of yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ), a traditional SOFC electrolyte material. As such, the ohmic loss due to oxygen transport through the tin layer must be considered in practical system cell design since the tin layer will usually be at least as thick as the electrolyte. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SMALL BUSINESS PHASE II | Award Amount: 499.99K | Year: 2011

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will continue the commercial development of the Liquid Tin Anode Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (LTA-SOFC) for direct conversion of biomass to electrical power. The LTA-SOFC is a transformational energy technology that dramatically increases the efficiency and simplicity of power generation from conventional fuels. In biopower, the LTA-SOFC provides a pathway to improve efficiency and capital cost and also enables smaller scale applications. Phase I successfully demonstrated the feasibility of direct biomass conversion to power, using biomass feed stocks which can have significant societal, environmental and economic impacts. Specifically in Phase I several different types of biomass including poplar and switchgrass were used to generate power in an actual LTA-SOFC cell. Post-test analysis indicated no ash fusion and near 100% fuel utilization (little residual carbon left). The Phase II effort will continue development of biopower applications for LTA-SOFC by demonstrating biomass fuel efficiency in a small stack assembly with continuous feeding. Also, evaluation of the fate of biomass-specific volatile components such as potassium will contribute to the understanding of LTA-SOFC longevity. Phase II will demonstrate additional LTA-SOFC biopower technical performance to reduce risk and increase the potential for commercialization of LTA-SOFC biopower.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be increased use of renewable power. Currently biomass contributes only 1% of U.S. electric power despite available resources to provide over 20%. Increased use of biomass for electric power will reduce carbon emissions, increase energy security and create domestic jobs. Efficiencies lower than 20% and high capital cost of today?s technology make conventional biomass power about twice as expensive as coal limiting market penetration to about 1%. LTA-SOFC Direct Biomass generators will reduce the cost of power and lower capital cost while reducing emissions and feedstock consumption by 2-3 times. The EIA predicts that by 2030, biomass will generate 4.5% of U.S electricity, representing an available market for LTA-SOFC of about $30 billion. The LTA-SOFC commercialization strategy starts with small devices. Growth into commercial markets will provide the maturity required for more demanding biomass power markets. In the biopower area military users have powerful adoption incentive that will encourage them to become early adopters. The US defense establishment has a goal to use renewable energy for 25% of the facility electrical consumption by 2025. This SBIR will reduce technical risk, providing confidence for integrator partners to co-invest in commercialization of LTA-SOFC biomass generators.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2010

This SBIR Phase I project will develop a Liquid Tin Anode Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (LTA-SOFC) to generate energy from biomass. The LTA-SOFC is an advanced fuel cell that has improved efficiency of directly generating electrical power from fuels such as biomass, diesel, natural gas, and coal. This project will study the efficiency of an LTA-SOFC to produce electricity from biomass for long periods of time, and to increase the power from Kilo Watts to Mega Watts. The broader/commercial impact of this project will be the development of an efficient and cost effective electric power generating system based on the direct use of biomass. In addition, the LTA-SOFC will reduce carbon emissions.


Patent
CellTech Power Inc. | Date: 2011-03-30

The present invention generally relates to electrochemical devices such as fuel cells and, in particular, to various component configurations including configurations for converting common fuels directly into electricity without additional fuel reforming or processing. Certain aspects of the invention are generally directed to configurations in which an anode of the device surrounds the electrolyte and/or the cathode of the device. In some embodiments, all single cells in a fuel cell stack share a common anode fuel chamber. The anode, in some cases, may be exposed to a fuel. In one set of embodiments, the anode of the device may be fluid during operation of the fuel cell, and in some cases, a porous container may be used to contain the anode during operation of the fuel cell. Other aspects of the invention relate to methods of making such devices, methods of promoting the making or use of such devices, and the like.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2010

DOE has identified that a key technical challenge to the power industry is


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2010

This SBIR Phase I project will develop a Liquid Tin Anode Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (LTA-SOFC) to generate energy from biomass. The LTA-SOFC is an advanced fuel cell that has improved efficiency of directly generating electrical power from fuels such as biomass, diesel, natural gas, and coal. This project will study the efficiency of an LTA-SOFC to produce electricity from biomass for long periods of time, and to increase the power from Kilo Watts to Mega Watts.

The broader/commercial impact of this project will be the development of an efficient and cost effective electric power generating system based on the direct use of biomass. In addition, the LTA-SOFC will reduce carbon emissions.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 499.99K | Year: 2012

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will continue the commercial development of the Liquid Tin Anode Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (LTA-SOFC) for direct conversion of biomass to electrical power. The LTA-SOFC is a transformational energy technology that dramatically increases the efficiency and simplicity of power generation from conventional fuels. In biopower, the LTA-SOFC provides a pathway to improve efficiency and capital cost and also enables smaller scale applications. Phase I successfully demonstrated the feasibility of direct biomass conversion to power, using biomass feed stocks which can have significant societal, environmental and economic impacts. Specifically in Phase I several different types of biomass including poplar and switchgrass were used to generate power in an actual LTA-SOFC cell. Post-test analysis indicated no ash fusion and near 100% fuel utilization (little residual carbon left). The Phase II effort will continue development of biopower applications for LTA-SOFC by demonstrating biomass fuel efficiency in a small stack assembly with continuous feeding. Also, evaluation of the fate of biomass-specific volatile components such as potassium will contribute to the understanding of LTA-SOFC longevity. Phase II will demonstrate additional LTA-SOFC biopower technical performance to reduce risk and increase the potential for commercialization of LTA-SOFC biopower. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be increased use of renewable power. Currently biomass contributes only 1% of U.S. electric power despite available resources to provide over 20%. Increased use of biomass for electric power will reduce carbon emissions, increase energy security and create domestic jobs. Efficiencies lower than 20% and high capital cost of today?s technology make conventional biomass power about twice as expensive as coal limiting market penetration to about 1%. LTA-SOFC Direct Biomass generators will reduce the cost of power and lower capital cost while reducing emissions and feedstock consumption by 2-3 times. The EIA predicts that by 2030, biomass will generate 4.5% of U.S electricity, representing an available market for LTA-SOFC of about $30 billion. The LTA-SOFC commercialization strategy starts with small devices. Growth into commercial markets will provide the maturity required for more demanding biomass power markets. In the biopower area military users have powerful adoption incentive that will encourage them to become early adopters. The US defense establishment has a goal to use renewable energy for 25% of the facility electrical consumption by 2025. This SBIR will reduce technical risk, providing confidence for integrator partners to co-invest in commercialization of LTA-SOFC biomass generators.


Patent
CellTech Power Inc. | Date: 2011-03-30

The present invention relates to an electrochemical device. The device features an anode constructed of materials such that the device can be chemically recharged. In addition, the device is capable of switching between operating as a fuel cell or as a battery. The switch can occur without cessation of electrical output. In certain aspects of the invention, the device is capable of operating at a temperature of less than 1000 C. Other aspects feature a liquid anode which allows higher output, dispersion of fuel and minimal stresses in an interface comprising the anode. Preferably the anode is a liquid at a temperature of less than 1000 C. The invention also relates to methods for energy conversion in which a continual electrical output can be produced in both the presence of fuel without anode consumption or the absence of fuel.

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