Direct Carbon Fuel Cell-Cleaner and Efficient Future Power Generation Technology

  • Uzair Ibrahim Dept. of Chemical and Material Engineering, National University of Sciences and Technology
  • Ahsan Ayub US. Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Energy, National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan

Abstract

Increasing greenhouse effect due to the burning of fossil fuels has stirred the attention of researchers towards cleaner and efficient technologies. Direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) is one such emerging technology that could generate electricity from solid carbon like coal and biogas in a more efficient and environmental-friendly way. The mechanism involves electrochemical oxidation of carbon to produce energy and highly pure carbon dioxide. Due to higher purity, the produced carbon dioxide can be captured easily to avoid its release in the environment. The carbon dioxide is produced in a gaseous state while the fuel used is in a solid state. Due to different phases, all of the fuel can be recovered from the cell and can be reused, ensuring complete (100%) fuel utilization with no fuel losses. Moreover, DCFC operates at a temperature lower than conventional fuel cells. The electric efficiency of a DCFC is around 80% which is nearly double the efficiency of coal thermal plant. In addition, DCFC produces pure carbon dioxide as compared to the thermal power plant which reduces the cost of CO2 separation and dumping. In different types of DCFCs, molten carbon fuel cell is considered to be superior due to its low operating temperature and high efficiency. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the direct carbon fuel cell technology and recent advances in this field. The paper is focused on the fundamentals of fuel cell, history, operating principle, its types, applications, future challenges, and development.

Keywords: Fuel cell, Solid Carbon Fuel, Boudouard Reaction, Efficiency, Electrochemical Oxidation

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

[1]        “Fuel Cell Systems Explained - Fuel Cell Systems Explained - Wiley Online Library.” [Online]. [Accessed: 06-Feb-2019].


[2]        M. Zhao, H. Zhang, Z. Hu, Z. Zhang, and J. Zhang, “Performance characteristics of a direct carbon fuel cell/thermoelectric generator hybrid system,” Energy Convers. Manag., vol. 89, pp. 683–689, Jan. 2015.


[3]        G. J. K. Acres, “Recent advances in fuel cell technology and its applications,” J. Power Sources, vol. 100, no. 1, pp. 60–66, Nov. 2001.


[4]        S. P. S. Badwal, “Fuel cells: an environmentally friendly power generation technology for the next century,” 1998.


[5]        S. P. S. Badwal, K. Foger, and M. J. Murray, “Fuel Cells: Clean Alternative Energy Technology of 21st Century,” p. 269, 1992.


[6]        H. L. Hellman and R. van den Hoed, “Characterising fuel cell technology: Challenges of the commercialisation process,” Int. J. Hydrog. Energy, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 305–315, Mar. 2007.


[7]        A. Kumar and R. G. Reddy, “Materials and design development for bipolar/end plates in fuel cells,” J. Power Sources, vol. 129, no. 1, pp. 62–67, Apr. 2004.


[8]        A. Boudghene Stambouli and E. Traversa, “Fuel cells, an alternative to standard sources of energy,” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 295–304, Sep. 2002.


[9]        “Statistical Review of World Energy | Energy economics | BP,” bp.com. [Online]. [Accessed: 01-Oct-2018].


[10]      L. Wang, Y. Yang, C. Dong, T. Morosuk, and G. Tsatsaronis, “Multi-objective optimization of coal-fired power plants using differential evolution,” Appl. Energy, vol. 115, pp. 254–264, Feb. 2014.


[11]      S. Sengupta, A. Datta, and S. Duttagupta, “Exergy analysis of a coal-based 210 MW thermal power plant,” Int. J. Energy Res., vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 14–28, 2007.


[12]      R. Soto and J. Vergara, “Thermal power plant efficiency enhancement with Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion,” Appl. Therm. Eng., vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 105–112, Jan. 2014.


[13]      C. Song, “Fuel processing for low-temperature and high-temperature fuel cells: Challenges, and opportunities for sustainable development in the 21st century,” Catal. Today, vol. 77, no. 1, pp. 17–49, Dec. 2002.


[14]      W. H. A. Peelen, K. Hemmes, and J. H. W. Dewit, “Carbon a major energy carrier for the future? Direct carbon fuel cells and molten salt coal/biomass gasification,” High Temp. Mater. Process., vol. 2, pp. 471–482, Jan. 1998.


[15]      “U.S. coal production and coal-fired electricity generation expected to rise in near term - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).” [Online]. [Accessed: 01-Oct-2018].


[16]      D. Cao, Y. Sun, and G. Wang, “Direct carbon fuel cell: Fundamentals and recent developments,” J. Power Sources, vol. 167, no. 2, pp. 250–257, May 2007.


[17]      A. Kumar, N. Kumar, P. Baredar, and A. Shukla, “A review on biomass energy resources, potential, conversion and policy in India,” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 45, pp. 530–539, May 2015.


[18]      M. F. Demirbas, M. Balat, and H. Balat, “Potential contribution of biomass to the sustainable energy development,” Energy Convers. Manag., vol. 50, no. 7, pp. 1746–1760, Jul. 2009.


[19]      M. J. Prins, K. J. Ptasinski, and F. J. J. G. Janssen, “More efficient biomass gasification via torrefaction,” Energy, vol. 31, no. 15, pp. 3458–3470, Dec. 2006.


[20]      A. Demirbas, “Combustion characteristics of different biomass fuels,” Prog. Energy Combust. Sci., vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 219–230, Jan. 2004.


[21]      “New fuel cell technology runs on solid carbon: Advancements allow the fuel cell to utilize about three times as much carbon as earlier direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) designs,” ScienceDaily. [Online]. [Accessed: 01-Oct-2018].


[22]      S. K. Tiwari, V. Kumar, A. Huczko, R. Oraon, A. D. Adhikari, and G. C. Nayak, “Magical Allotropes of Carbon: Prospects and Applications,” Crit. Rev. Solid State Mater. Sci., vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 257–317, Jul. 2016.


[23]      J. F. Cooper and R. Selman, “Electrochemical Oxidation of Carbon for Electric Power Generation: A Review,” ECS Trans., vol. 19, no. 14, pp. 15–25, Oct. 2009.


[24]      S. Giddey, S. P. S. Badwal, A. Kulkarni, and C. Munnings, “A comprehensive review of direct carbon fuel cell technology,” Prog. Energy Combust. Sci., vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 360–399, Jun. 2012.


[25]      “Method of converting potential energy of carbon into electrical energy,” US555511A, 03-Mar-1896.


[26]      R. D. Weaver, S. C. Leach, A. E. Bayce, and L. Nanis, “Direct electrochemical generation of electricity from coal,” Nov. 1979.


[27]      Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Molten Salts. .


[28]      C. Li, Y. Shi, and N. Cai, “Performance improvement of direct carbon fuel cell by introducing catalytic gasification process,” J. Power Sources, vol. 195, no. 15, pp. 4660–4666, Aug. 2010.


[29]      T. M. Gür and R. A. Huggins, “Direct Electrochemical Conversion of Carbon to Electrical Energy in a High Temperature Fuel Cell,” J. Electrochem. Soc., vol. 139, no. 10, pp. L95–L97, Oct. 1992.


[30]      R. Liu et al., “A novel direct carbon fuel cell by approach of tubular solid oxide fuel cells,” J. Power Sources, vol. 195, no. 2, pp. 480–482, Jan. 2010.


[31]      M. Ihara and S. Hasegawa, “Quickly Rechargeable Direct Carbon Solid Oxide Fuel Cell with Propane for Recharging,” J. Electrochem. Soc., vol. 153, no. 8, pp. A1544–A1546, Aug. 2006.


[32]      S. Hasegawa and M. Ihara, “Reaction Mechanism of Solid Carbon Fuel in Rechargeable Direct Carbon SOFCs with Methane for Charging,” J. Electrochem. Soc., vol. 155, no. 1, pp. B58–B63, Jan. 2008.


[33]      S. P. S. Badwal, S. Giddey, and S. Badwal, “THE HOLY GRAIL OF CARBON COMBUSTION – THE DIRECT CARBON FUEL CELL TECHNOLOGY,” p. 5.


[34]      C. Jiang, J. Ma, A. D. Bonaccorso, and J. T. S. Irvine, “Demonstration of high power, direct conversion of waste-derived carbon in a hybrid direct carbon fuel cell,” Energy Environ. Sci., vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 6973–6980, Apr. 2012.


[35]      X. Li et al., “Surface modification of carbon fuels for direct carbon fuel cells,” J. Power Sources, vol. 186, no. 1, pp. 1–9, Jan. 2009.


[36]      A. C. Lee, R. E. Mitchell, and T. M. Gür, “Thermodynamic analysis of gasification-driven direct carbon fuel cells,” J. Power Sources, vol. 194, no. 2, pp. 774–785, Dec. 2009.


[37]      S. Zecevic, E. M. Patton, and P. Parhami, “Direct Carbon Fuel Cell With Hydroxide Electrolyte: Cell Performance During Initial Stage of a Long Term Operation,” pp. 507–514, Jan. 2005.


[38]      L. Jia et al., “A direct carbon fuel cell with (molten carbonate)/(doped ceria) composite electrolyte,” J. Power Sources, vol. 195, no. 17, pp. 5581–5586, Sep. 2010.


[39]      J. R. Selman, “Molten-salt fuel cells—Technical and economic challenges,” J. Power Sources, vol. 160, no. 2, pp. 852–857, Oct. 2006.


[40]      G. Wilemski, “Simple porous electrode models for molten carbonate fuel cells,” J. Electrochem. Soc., vol. 130, pp. 117–121, Jan. 1983.


[41]      J. Goret and B. Tremillon, “Propriétés chimiques et électrochimiques en solution dans les hydroxydes alcalins fondus—IV. Comportement électrochimique de quelques métaux utilisés comme électrodes indicatrices,” Electrochimica Acta, vol. 12, no. 8, pp. 1065–1083, Aug. 1967.


[42]      A. L. Dicks, “Molten carbonate fuel cells,” Curr. Opin. Solid State Mater. Sci., vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 379–383, Oct. 2004.


[43]      N. J. Cherepy, R. Krueger, K. J. Fiet, A. F. Jankowski, and J. F. Cooper, “Direct Conversion of Carbon Fuels in a Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell,” J. Electrochem. Soc., vol. 152, no. 1, pp. A80–A87, Jan. 2005.


[44]      S. McPHAIL, E. Simonetti, A. Moreno, and R. Bove, “7 - Molten carbonate fuel cells,” in Materials for Fuel Cells, M. Gasik, Ed. Woodhead Publishing, 2008, pp. 248–279.


[45]      L. Hu, G. Lindbergh, and C. Lagergren, “Performance and Durability of the Molten Carbonate Electrolysis Cell and the Reversible Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell,” J. Phys. Chem. C, vol. 120, no. 25, pp. 13427–13433, Jun. 2016.


[46]      S. M. Konde, “Development of an Intermediate Temperature Molten Salt Fuel Cell,” p. 124.


[47]      D. G. Vutetakis, “Electrochemical oxidation of carbonaceous materials dispersed in molten carbonate,” Ohio State Univ.,Columbus, OH, Jan. 1985.


[48]      A. A. Kornhauser and R. Agarwal, “MODELING AND DESIGN FOR A DIRECT CARBON FUEL CELL WITH ENTRAINED FUEL AND OXIDIZER,” Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (US), Apr. 2005.


[49]      Y. K. Rao, A. Adjorlolo, and J. H. Haberman, “On the mechanism of catalysis of the Boudouard reaction by alkali-metal compounds,” Carbon, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 207–212, Jan. 1982.


[50]      F. Kapteijn, G. Abbel, and J. A. Moulijn, “CO2 gasification of carbon catalysed by alkali metals: Reactivity and mechanism,” Fuel, vol. 63, no. 8, pp. 1036–1042, Aug. 1984.


[51]      J. Y. Hwang, J. H. Yu, and K. Kang, “A study of the gasification of carbon black with molten salt of Li2CO3 and K2CO3 for application in the external anode media of a direct carbon fuel cell,” Curr. Appl. Phys., vol. 15, no. 12, pp. 1580–1586, Dec. 2015.


[52]      M. Chen, C. Wang, X. Niu, S. Zhao, J. Tang, and B. Zhu, “Carbon anode in direct carbon fuel cell,” Int. J. Hydrog. Energy, vol. 35, no. 7, pp. 2732–2736, Apr. 2010.


[53]      J. Zhang et al., “Characteristics of a fluidized bed electrode for a direct carbon fuel cell anode,” J. Power Sources, vol. 196, no. 6, pp. 3054–3059, Mar. 2011.


[54]      “(10) (PDF) International Status of Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC) Technology,” ResearchGate. [Online]. [Accessed: 17-Feb-2019].


[55]      A. Dicks and A. Siddle, “Assessment of commercial prospects of molten carbonate fuel cells,” J. Power Sources, vol. 86, no. 1, pp. 316–323, Mar. 2000.


[56]      S. P. S. Badwal and F. T. Ciacchi, “Oxygen-ion conducting electrolyte materials for solid oxide fuel cells,” Ionics, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 1–21, Jan. 2000.


[57]      B. C. H. Steele, “Fuel-cell technology: Running on natural gas,” Nature, vol. 400, no. 6745, pp. 619–621, Aug. 1999.


[58]      M. R. Predtechensky, Y. D. Varlamov, S. N. Ul’yankin, and Y. D. Dubov, “Direct conversion of solid hydrocarbons in a molten carbonate fuel cell,” Thermophys. Aeromechanics, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 601–610, Dec. 2009.


[59]      A. C. Lee, S. Li, R. E. Mitchell, and T. M. Gür, “Conversion of Solid Carbonaceous Fuels in a Fluidized Bed Fuel Cell,” Electrochem. Solid-State Lett., vol. 11, no. 2, pp. B20–B23, Feb. 2008.


[60]      S. Nürnberger, R. Bußar, P. Desclaux, B. Franke, M. Rzepka, and U. Stimming, “Direct carbon conversion in a SOFC-system with a non-porous anode,” Energy Environ. Sci., vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 150–153, Jan. 2010.


[61]      A. Kulkarni, S. Giddey, and S. P. S. Badwal, “Electrochemical performance of ceria-gadolinia electrolyte based direct carbon fuel cells,” Solid State Ion., vol. 194, no. 1, pp. 46–52, Jul. 2011.


[62]      X. Li, Z. Zhu, R. De Marco, J. Bradley, and A. Dicks, “Modification of Coal as a Fuel for the Direct Carbon Fuel Cell,” J. Phys. Chem. A, vol. 114, no. 11, pp. 3855–3862, Mar. 2010.


[63]      F. Rodriguez-Reinoso, P. A. Thrower, and P. L. Walker, “Kinetic studies of the oxidation of highly oriented pyrolytic graphites,” Carbon, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 63–70, Jan. 1974.


[64]      F. Stevens, L. A. Kolodny, and T. P. Beebe, “Kinetics of Graphite Oxidation: Monolayer and Multilayer Etch Pits in HOPG Studied by STM,” J. Phys. Chem. B, vol. 102, no. 52, pp. 10799–10804, Dec. 1998.


[65]      K. Kinoshita, “Carbon: electrochemical and physicochemical properties,” Jan. 1988.


[66]      M. Turco, A. Ausiello, and L. Micoli, “Fuel Cells Operating and Structural Features of MCFCs and SOFCs,” in Treatment of Biogas for Feeding High Temperature Fuel Cells: Removal of Harmful Compounds by Adsorption Processes, M. Turco, A. Ausiello, and L. Micoli, Eds. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2016, pp. 31–76.


[67]      O. Z. Sharaf and M. F. Orhan, “An overview of fuel cell technology: Fundamentals and applications,” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 32, pp. 810–853, Apr. 2014.


[68]      R. Schlögl, Chemical Energy Storage. Walter de Gruyter, 2012.


[69]      L. Palma and P. N. Enjeti, “A Modular Fuel Cell, Modular DC–DC Converter Concept for High Performance and Enhanced Reliability,” IEEE Trans. Power Electron., vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 1437–1443, Jun. 2009.


[70]      M. S. MATHENY, P. A. ERICKSON, C. NIEZRECKI, and V. P. ROAN, “Interior and Exterior Noise Emitted by a Fuel Cell Transit Bus,” J. Sound Vib., vol. 251, pp. 937–943, Apr. 2002.


[71]      K. Cowey, K. J. Green, G. O. Mepsted, and R. Reeve, “Portable and military fuel cells,” Curr. Opin. Solid State Mater. Sci., vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 367–371, Oct. 2004.


[72]      A. S. Patil et al., “Portable fuel cell systems for America’s army: technology transition to the field,” J. Power Sources, vol. 136, no. 2, pp. 220–225, Oct. 2004.


[73]      E. Varkaraki, N. Lymberopoulos, and A. Zachariou, “Hydrogen based emergency back-up system for telecommunication applications,” J. Power Sources, vol. 118, no. 1, pp. 14–22, May 2003.


[74]      M. O. Abdullah, V. C. Yung, M. Anyi, A. K. Othman, K. B. Ab. Hamid, and J. Tarawe, “Review and comparison study of hybrid diesel/solar/hydro/fuel cell energy schemes for a rural ICT Telecenter,” Energy, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 639–646, Feb. 2010.


[75]      A. Bauen, D. Hart, and A. Chase, “Fuel cells for distributed generation in developing countries—an analysis,” Int. J. Hydrog. Energy, vol. 28, no. 7, pp. 695–701, Jul. 2003.


[76]      N. Briguglio, M. Ferraro, G. Brunaccini, and V. Antonucci, “Evaluation of a low temperature fuel cell system for residential CHP,” Int. J. Hydrog. Energy, vol. 36, no. 13, pp. 8023–8029, Jul. 2011.


[77]      Carter, D., Ryan, M., & Wing, J. (2012). The fuel cell industry review 2013. Fuel Cell Today, 21.


[78]      J. W. Plunkett, Plunkett’s Automobile Industry Almanac 2007. Plunkett Research, Ltd., 2006.

Published
2019-02-23
How to Cite
[1]
U. Ibrahim and A. Ayub, “Direct Carbon Fuel Cell-Cleaner and Efficient Future Power Generation Technology”, Adv. J. Grad. Res., vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 14-30, Feb. 2019.