Ni Modified Ceramic Anodes for Direct-Methane Solid Oxide Fuel Cells


Reference #: 00873

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for Ni-modified ceramic anodes for use in direct-methane solid fuel cells.

Invention Description:

This invention is a Ni-modified ceramic anode for use in direct-methane solid fuel cells. Dispersion of a small amount of Ni on the proprietary ceramic anode as a catalyst significantly improves the anode performance while avoiding carbon deposition and redox instability from the conventional Ni-cermet anode for direct methane SOFCs.

Advantages and Benefits:

• Inexpensive anode materials that can be used in SOFCs

• Simple anode fabrication procedure

Potential Applications:

The Ni-modified ceramic anode shows great promise for direct-methane solid oxide fuel cells.


Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) can potentially utilize hydrocarbon fuels without requiring precious metal catalysts. Because methane is the simplest hydrocarbon fuel and a readily available natural gas (with methane as the main component), direct-methane SOFCs have attracted great attention; the catalytic activity of the anode materials plays an important role for this application. Among the non-precious metals, nickel shows impressive catalytic activity in steam-reforming methane but suffers significant carbon deposition under low steam content due to methane thermal cracking.

Such degradation can be mitigated by selection of appropriate catalyst supports and by control of the particle size, dispersion, and stabilization of the metallic catalyst particles. However, these strategies are not suitable for the conventional Ni-cermet anode since it usually contains a large volume ratio of Ni to maintain sufficient electrical conductivity. This feature makes the carbon formation easier to occur on the excessive Ni surface. Additionally, a large ratio of Ni tends to cause the anode to sinter at high operating temperatures and experience more serious volume change during redox cycles.

Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
Ni Modified Ceramic Anodes for direct-methane solid oxide fuel cells Utility United States 13/271,559 9,240,597 10/12/2011 1/19/2016    
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Fanglin Chen
Guoliang Xiao
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