Development and characterization of vacuum plasma sprayed thin film solid oxide fuel cells

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Abstract

The vacuum plasma spraying (VPS) process allows the production of thin solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) with low internal resistances. This enables the reduction of the cell operating temperature without a significant decrease in power density. Consequently, the long-term stability of the cells can be improved and low-cost materials can be used.

Different material combinations and spray parameter variations were applied to develop thin-film SOFCs, which were plasma sprayed in a consecutive deposition process onto different porous metallic substrates. The use of Laval nozzles, which were developed at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the use of conical F4V standard nozzles enable the fabrication of thin gas tight yttria- and scandia-stabilized ZrO2 (YSZ and ScSZ) electrolyte layers and of porous electrode layers with high material deposition rates. The optimization of the VPS parameters has been supported by laser doppler anemometry (LDA) investigations.

The development of the plasma-sprayed cells with a total thickness of approximately 100 µm requires an overall electrical and electrochemical characterization process of the single layers and of the completely plasma-sprayed cell assembly. The plasma-sprayed cell layers reveal high electrical conductivities. The plasma-sprayed cells show very good electrochemical performance and low internal resistances. Power densities of 300 to 400 mW/cm2 at low operating temperatures of 750 to 800 °C were achieved. These cells can be assembled to high performance SOFC stacks with active cell areas up to 400 cm2, which can be operated at reduced temperatures and good long-term stability.

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Lang, M., Henne, R., Schaper, S. et al. Development and characterization of vacuum plasma sprayed thin film solid oxide fuel cells. J Therm Spray Tech 10, 618–625 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1361/105996301770349141

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Keywords

  • electrochemical characterization
  • impedance spectroscopy
  • laser doppler anemometry (LDA)
  • solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC)
  • vacuum plasma spraying (VPS)