A three-dimensional heterogeneity analysis of electrochemical energy conversion in SOFC anodes using electron nanotomography and mathematical modeling

Tomasz A. Prokop, Katarzyna Berent, Hiroshi Iwai, Janusz S.Szmyd, Grzegorz Brus - AGH University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Energy and Fuels, AGH University of Science and Technology, Academic Centre for Materials and Nanotechnology, Krakow, Poland , Kyoto University, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Kyoto, Japan

In this paper a fully three dimensional, multiphase, micro-scale solid oxide fuel cellanode transport phenomena numerical model is proposed and verified. The Butler-Volmer model was combined with empirical relations for conductivity and diffusivity – notably the Fuller-Shetler-Giddings equation, and the Fickian modelfor transport of gas reagents. FIB-SEM tomography of a commercial SOFC stack anode was performed and the resulting images were processed to acquire input data. A novel method for estimating local values of Triple Phase Boundary length density for use in a three-phase, three-dimensional numerical mesh was proposed. The model equations are solved using an in-house code and the results were verified by comparison to an analytical solution within the range of its applicability. A limited parametric study was performed to qualitatively assess simulation performance and impact of heterogeneity. Despite the high dependence of the SOFC anode performance on the geometry of its anisotropic, three-phase microstructure there are very few micro-scale numerical models simulating transport phenomena within these electrodes.