Experimental determination of effective surface area and conductivities in the porous anode of molten carbonate fuel cell
Stationary polarization curves and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy of a porous nickel anode in a molten carbonate fuel cell were obtained in order to determine the active surface area and conductivities with varying degree of electrolyte filling for two anode feed-gas compositions, one simulating operation with steam reformed natural gas and the other one gasified coal. The active surface area for coal gas is reduced by around 70-80% compared to the standard gas composition in the case of Li/Na carbonate. Moreover, an optimal degree of electrolyte filling was shifted toward higher filling degree in the case of operation with coal gas.In order to evaluate the experimental data a one-dimensional model was used. The reaction rate at the matrix/electrode interface is about five times higher than the average reaction rate in the whole electrode in case of 10% electrolyte filling. This result suggests that the lower limit of the filling degree of the anode should be around 15% in order to avoid non-uniform distribution of the reaction in the electrode. Therefore, in the case of applying Li/Na carbonate in the MCFC, an electrolyte distribution model taking into account the wetting properties of the electrode is required in order to set an optimal electrolyte filling degree in the electrode.