Sulfur Poisoning of SOFC Anodes: Effect of Overpotential on Long-Term Degradation

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Sulfur impurities in carbon containing fuels for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), e.g. natural gas and biogas, typically lead to significant losses in performance due to the sulfur sensitivity of Ni/yttria-stabilized-zirconia (YSZ) anodes for SOFC. Full cells having Ni/YSZ anodes have been characterized during long-term galvanostatic operation in internal reforming gas mixture (CH4/H2O/H2:30/60/10), with 2 ppm H2S exposure to the anode for 500 hours at 850◦C, at different current densities. This work focus on the long-term effect of H2S exposure over a few hundreds of hours; and describes and correlates the observed evolution of anode performance, over hundreds of hours, with sulfur exposure at low cell overpotential (low current density) and at high overpotential (high current density) with and without H2S exposure. For tests at low overpotential with H2S exposure only a reversible loss in performance was
observed and post-mortem SEM analysis showed an intact Ni/YSZ anode microstructure. For tests at high cell overpotential the H2S exposure caused both a reversible loss in performance and an irreversible long-term degradation. Post-mortem SEM analysis of the Ni/YSZ anode from this tests showed increased porosity and lack of percolating Ni in the few microns of the anode closest to the anode/electrolyte interface.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of The Electrochemical Society
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)F734-F743
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2014. Published by ECS. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (CC BY,, which permits unrestricted reuse of the work in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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