Direct ammonia SOFC – A potential technology for green shipping

Anke Hagen*, Riccardo Caldogno, Xiufu Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


International shipping carries about 90% of the global trade, thereby emitting significant amounts of greenhouse gasses by using fossil based fuels. Zero-emission technologies using green fuels are crucial to reduce the environmental impact of this important transport sector. Among the considered concepts is green ammonia in a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC).

The present study investigated SOFCs fueled with ammonia regarding cracking, electrochemical performance and durability. Ammonia cracking was for the first time directly measured over a planar, anode supported SOFC at open circuit voltage and during operation, as well as in presence of several balance of plant components. At temperatures around 700 °C, ammonia is significantly cracked when passing over hot metallic low surface area components (like Ni current collectors) even in the absence of the SOFC. The Ni/YSZ SOFC anode is active for the cracking as well. The area specific resistance of the SOFC is larger when using ammonia as compared to a H2/N2 mixture, due to two origins, (i) a decrease of the cell temperature due to the endothermal cracking, which leads to larger ohmic resistance and (ii) presence of unconverted ammonia, which increases the polarisation resistance in the low frequency region. Durability tests reveal increased cell voltage degradation when using ammonia fuel at 700 °C, mainly due to increase of the ohmic contributions. Micro structural analysis suggests nitridation as cause of this degradation. A stable SOFC operation is possible at 750 °C.
Original languageEnglish
Article number131238
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Ammonia
  • Solid oxide fuel cells
  • Cracking kinetics at commercial cell
  • Performance
  • Durability
  • Nitridation


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