Performance of direct carbon fuel cells operated on coal and effect of operation mode

Andrew C. Chien*, Ana Arenillas, Cairong Jiang, John T. S. Irvine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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Previous experimental results have shown that a system with molten carbonate and solid oxide electrolyte is feasible for Direct Carbon Fuel Cell (DCFC). A study is presented to investigate cell performance with a range of solid carbon (i.e. coals, biochars, graphite) and operation mode in this hybrid electrolyte system. The results show that less crystalline coal with high fixed carbon, low sulfur, medium volatile material and moisture is best suited to this system. Using high rank of fuel such as anthracite coal, good cell performance can be obtained only by elevating temperature and with adequate pretreatment to remove impurities. Discussion of cell operation indicates that cell degradation and operation failure were due to coal agglomeration, ash buildup, and limited fuel supply in potentiostatic mode. Instead, galvanostatic operation gave stable cell performance over 60 hours. This result allows better understanding of anode reaction mechanism on the hybrid electrolyte system. Thus, long-term operation is promised when suitable solid fuel and optimized operation parameters are applied. (C) 2014 The Electrochemical Society. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F588-F593
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of The Electrochemical Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2014


  • Molten-carbonate
  • Solid oxide
  • Electrochemical oxidation
  • Direct conversion
  • Electrolyte
  • Temperature
  • Behavior
  • Anode


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