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What is a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell & How Does it Work?

A fuel cell is like a battery that always runs. It consists of three parts: an electrolyte, an anode, and a cathode.

For a solid oxide fuel cell, the electrolyte is a solid ceramic material. The anode and cathode are made from special inks that coat the electrolyte. Unlike other types of fuel cells, no precious metals, corrosive acids, or molten materials are required.

Next, an electrochemical reaction converts fuel and air into energy, specifically electricity without combustion.

A solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is a high temperature fuel cell. At high temperature, warmed air enters the cathode side of the fuel cell and steam mixes with fuel to produce reformed fuel… which enters on the anode side.

Next, the chemical reaction begins in the fuel cell. As the reformed fuel crosses the anode, it attracts oxygen ions from the cathode. The oxygen ions combine with the reformed fuel to produce electricity, water, and small amounts of carbon dioxide.

The water gets recycled to produce the steam needed to reform the fuel. The process also generates the heat required by the fuel cell.

As long as there's fuel, air, and heat, the process continues producing clean, reliable, affordable energy.