Investigation of fuels containing sulfur impurities is important regarding durability of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) because they are present in various potential fuels for SOFC applications. The effect of H2S in the ppm range on the performance of state-of-the-art anode supported SOFC at 850 and 750°C is evaluated in either hydrogen/steam or hydrogen/steam/CO fuel. It was found that the poisoning effect is more severe in H2/H2O/CO vs. H2/H2O fuel. Only ∼8 ppm H2S can be allowed in the CO containing fuel without risking damage to the anode, whereas 90 ppm (or even more) is possible in H2/H2O. Impedance spectroscopy revealed that the poisoning effect in H2/H2O is due to an increase of the polarization resistance in the high frequency range, which is related to the electrochemical anode reaction. In H2/H2O/CO, both the polarization and serial resistance increase. Furthermore, the polarization resistance increased both in the high and low frequency region, which indicates a strong poisoning of the water gas shift reaction and thus a lack of hydrogen fuel in addition to the poisoning of the electrochemical hydrogen oxidation. All poisoning effects are reversible under the applied operating conditions.
Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 2013, Vol 160, Issue 2