Detailed study of sulfur poisoning and recovery of Ni-YSZ-based anodes operating up to 1.8 W cm-2 in a biogas fuel

Jianjun Ma, Yao Jiang, Paul A. Connor, Stephen R. Gamble, Mark Cassidy, Cairong Jiang*, John T. S. Irvine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Ni-YSZ (nickel-yttrium-stabilized zirconia) is a common anode for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) because of its excellent catalytic performance and electronic conductivity. It shows that the nickel anode-supported cell exhibits good cell performance in a biogas fuel of 36CH4-36CO2-20H2O-4H2-4CO. Unfortunately, natural biogas fuels often contain sulfur, so using nickel anodes is not always straightforward. This paper investigates the sulfur poisoning and the recovery of BaCe0.7Zr0.1Y0.1Yb0.1O3-δ- (BCZYYb-) (Ce, Y, and Yb codoped barium zirconate) impregnated nickel anode-supported cells operating up to 1.8 W cm-2 in the biogas. The in situ gas analysis reveals that the suppression of the reforming reactions might cause sulfur poisoning in a 4 ppm (v) H2S (hydrogen sulfide) in open circuit conditions, whereas the current degradation in working conditions could be attributed to the deactivation of reforming reactions and catalyst activity. The incidence of water-gas shift reactions is associated with the degradation rate of these two reactions. After removing the H2S, the recovery is accelerated by a steam hydrogen fuel, indicating that steam facilitates the efficient release of sulfur from nickel sites.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2339117
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Research
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2023


  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Fuel Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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