High-efficiency Micro Fuel Cell Module with small-sized tubular solid oxide fuel cells developed

Scientists from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have developed a micro fuel cell module with small-sized tubular solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), in collaboration with NGK Spark Plug. The module requires negligible amount of power for feeding air into the porous solid and allows air supply by natural diffusion; thus, a fuel cell system of significantly improved efficiency and reduced size will be achieved by using the newly developed module. In future, this technology will find wide applications in power supplies for small-size portable electronic devices.

Compared to other types of fuel cells, SOFCs offer many advantages such as the highest energy conversion efficiency among all fuel cells, high reliability as they are made solely from solid materials, easy handling, and direct use of hydrocarbon fuel.The micro fuel cell module has a size of 1 cm3 with small-size tubular SOFCs of diameters ranging from millimeter to sub-millimeter, and achieves the power density of larger than 2 W/cm3 at 550°C.