Investigation of microcombustion reforming of ethane/air and micro-Tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Ryan J. Milcarek, Hisashi Nakamura, Takuya Tezuka, Kaoru Maruta, Jeongmin Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Thermal partial oxidation, or fuel-rich combustion, is a non-catalytic option for reforming hydrocarbons to synthesis gas for direct conversion in micro-Tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs). A number of studies have demonstrated the potential of using heat recirculation to sustain combustion at high equivalence ratios, where the concentration of synthesis gas can be maximized, but few have connected the fuel-rich combustion reforming to SOFCs to understand how the reforming effects the electrochemical reactions. This study investigates microcombustion of ethane/air at equivalence ratios from 1.0 to 5.0, flow rates of 10–250 mL min−1 and maximum wall temperatures of 800 °C, 900 °C and 1000 °C. The weak flame, flame with repetitive extinction and ignition (FREI) and normal flame regimes are characterized along with the exhaust composition at each condition. Micro-Tubular SOFCs (mT-SOFCs) open circuit voltage, polarization and power density are found to be effected by FREI. High fuel utilization of ~64% is achieved. Long term testing and comparison with a H2 baseline is reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number227606
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - Feb 29 2020


  • Flame-assisted fuel cell (FFC)
  • Micro flow reactor
  • Microcombustion
  • Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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