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ECS Short Courses

San Francisco, CA | Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013

Short Course #5
Introduction to Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Science and Technology
Stuart B. Adler and Nguyen Minh, Instructors

Please visit the San Francisco meeting page for registration information. Early-Bird Registration rates are in effect until September 27, 2013. See a list of all Short courses offered at the San Francisco meeting.

The objective of the course is to provide an introduction to Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) science & technology, with emphasis in the following areas:

  • Process/System Design and Integration
  • Stack Design
  • Cell Materials and Fabrication
  • Performance and Other Operating Characteristics
  • Cell Modeling and Diagnostics
Prerequisites (to benefit most effectively from the course):
  • First two years of a Bachelor's program in physics, chemistry, engineering, or equivalent.
  • Basic computer skills (spreadsheet calculations).
Course materials (provided by the instructors at the meeting):
  • One CD with course notes, exercises, and spreadsheet models for use in Excel
  • Handouts
What attendees should bring:
  • Laptop computer
  • Hand calculator
  • Writing implement and note paper
Course Activities:
  • 80% lecture
  • 10% computer demonstration
  • 10% short-answer questions and computer exercises
Syllabus — Morning
(all times are approximate)

Introductory Remarks — Adler (8:45-9:00)
  • Meet the instructors and students, review course objectives
A. Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: A Systems Perspective — Adler (9:00-9:45)
  • Reversible work, and how it is lost
  • Lost work analysis of energy conversion processes
  • What a solid oxide fuel cell does
  • Fuel cell stacks and fuel utilization
  • The “black box” SOFC: work vs. heat
  • Unique features of SOFCs and their fit in the broader spectrum of advanced energy technology
Working Coffee Break (9:45-10:00)

B1. Process Design and Integration: General Issues — Adler (10:00-10:30)
  • Why thermal management is critical for SOFC systems
  • Stack cooling and process temperature constraints
  • Recuperative heat exchange
  • Properties of gas turbines and compressors
  • Putting together: example of a SOFC/GT combined cycle
B2. System Components and Design Parameters — Minh (10:30-11:00)
  • System requirements
  • Fuel cell and system efficiencies
  • Fuel reforming and its role in the system
  • Fuel cell subsystem design parameters
Working Coffee Break (11:00-11:15)

C. Stack Design Considerations — Adler (11:15-12:00)
  • Stack requirements
  • Typical stack geometries
  • General cell characteristics, and how this influences stack design
  • Gas flow distribution
  • Effect of compositional and thermal gradients
  • Stack modeling: a simple 1-D co-flow stack model
  • Stack modeling using FEA
Lunch Break (12:00-1:00)

Syllabus — Afternoon

D. Cell Design and Fabrication — Minh (1:00-1:45)
  • Cell design requirements
  • Cell geometries
  • Thermomechanical and performance considerations and cell support strategies
  • Fabrication approaches
Working Coffee Break (1:45-2:00)

E. SOFC Materials and Performance — Minh (2:00-2:45)
  • SOFC structure and material requirements
  • Electrolytes
  • Electrodes
  • Interconnects
  • Seals
  • Performance and performance degradation
Working Coffee Break (2:45-3:00)

F. Cell Modeling and Diagnostics — Adler (3:00-3:45)
  • Factors influencing the shape of a cell polarization curve
  • Cell-level vs. microkinetic models
  • Porous electrode theory
  • Challenges of cell diagnostics
  • Impedance Spectroscopy
  • Advanced modeling and electrode diagnostics
Working Coffee Break (3:45-4:00)

G. Current Technology Status of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Applications — Minh (4:00-4:30)

Panel Discussion and Speaker Q&A (4:30-5:00)

About the Instructors

Stuart B. Adler is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle. His work focuses on electrochemical ceramics, including advanced measurement and modeling techniques for solid-state electrodes, and independent studies of kinetic, transport, and thermodynamic properties of solids. Dr. Adler received his PhD in 1993 from the University of California, Berkeley. After a postdoc at Imperial College, UK, he was a staff scientist at Ceramatec, Inc. before rejoining academia in 1999. Professor Adler’s awards include a NSF-NATO postdoctoral Fellowship (1993), NSF Career Award (2001), the ECS Charles W. Tobias Young Investigator Award (2004), and the UW Junior Faculty Innovator Award (2007).

Nguyen Minh is an internationally known expert on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and related technologies. He has been involved in the development of SOFCs and new energy systems for the last 25 years. His experience covers a full spectrum of industrial/product R&D areas, ranging from technology assessment, strategy and roadmap formulation, fundamental and engineering study to processes and manufacturing development, system design and operation, prototype demonstration, and cost/market analysis.

Dr. Minh is currently Associate Director, Center for Energy Research at University of California, San Diego and an independent consultant on SOFCs. Until May 2007, he was Chief Scientist, General Electric (GE) Global Research, Torrance, CA. As the Chief Scientist, Dr. Minh was responsible for the organization’s overall technical objectives, oversaw the broad technical roadmap and R&D direction, and served as the Principal Investigator of GE multi-million dollar fuel cell programs and the primary technical representative to customers and industry. From 2001-2004, he was Manager, Fuel Cells and led the fuel cell group at GE to develop SOFCs and SOFC/gas turbine hybrid power systems for commercialization. He was responsible for group performance and provided technical direction, coordinated group activities, and assisted in business strategic planning.

Dr. Minh has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and a number of organizations and companies. Dr. Minh is the author/coauthor of the book “Science and Technology of Ceramic Fuel Cells” as well as five book chapters, 20 patents, and over 100 published technical articles on fuel cells and related technologies.

For additional information about Education, please contact: education


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