Mass transport in the cathode electrode of a molten carbonate fuel cell
Findlay, Justin Earl
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A molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) is an electro-chemical energy conversion technology that runs on natural gas and employs a molten salt electrolyte. In order to keep the electrolyte in this state, the cell must be kept at a temperature above 500 C, eliminating the need for precious metals as the catalyst. There has been only a limited amount of research on modelling the transport processes inside this device, mainly due to its limited ability for mobile applications. In this thesis, three one-dimensional models of a MCFC are presented based on different types of diffusion and convection. Comparisons between models are performed so as to assess their validity. Regarding ion transport, it is shown that there exists a limiting case for ion migration across the cathode that depends on the conductivity for the liquid potential. Finally, an optimization of the diffusivity across the cathode is carried out in an attempt to increase the cell performance and its longevity.