Ni migration in solid oxide cell electrodes: Review and revised hypothesis

Mogens B. Mogensen*, Ming Chen, Henrik Lund Frandsen, Christopher Graves, Anne Hauch, Peter Vang Hendriksen, Torben Jacobsen, Søren Højgaard Jensen, Theis Løye Skafte, Xiufu Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review


Severe degradation of Ni-YSZ (yttria stabilized zirconia) electrodes of solid oxide cells (SOCs) due to Ni migration is well known, but the literature contains apparent contradictions. The mechanisms are still under debate. Fine structured Ni-YSZ composite electrodes often degrade at operation temperature (700–950°C), because Ni particles lose electrical contact with each other as larger Ni-particles grow on the expense of smaller ones. Another type of Ni migration, which may be very damaging, is the relocation of Ni in the most active part of the Ni-YSZ cermet electrode next to the dense YSZ electrolyte. Emphasis is put on the migration of Ni away from the YSZ electrolyte in solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs). This is seen as an important obstacle to the commercialization of SOC systems.

Apart from temperature, degradation of Ni-YSZ electrodes in SOCs is related to Ni-YSZ electrode overpotential and the local redox potential of the gas mixture inside the porous Ni-YSZ electrode. A unifying Ni migration mechanism is proposed, and methods of alleviating the electrode degradation are discussed. The hypothesis is that Ni migrates via surface diffusion of Ni(OH)x species below ca. 800°C and via Ni(OH)x species in gas phase above ca. 900°C.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFuel Cells
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)415-429
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event24th European Fuel Cell Forum - KKL Lucerne, Virtual event, Switzerland
Duration: 20 Oct 202023 Oct 2020
Conference number: 24


Conference24th European Fuel Cell Forum
LocationKKL Lucerne
CityVirtual event


  • Effect of impurities
  • Effect of overpotential
  • Effect of oxygen potential
  • Nickel (ni) migration
  • SOEC degradation
  • Solid oxide cell (SOC)
  • Solid oxide elctrolysis cell (SOEC)
  • Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)


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