Playing with Fire: Commercialization of a Metal-Supported SOFC Product for Use in Charcoal Cookstoves for the Developing World
A metal-supported SOFC stack is developed to operate in wood- or charcoal-burning cookstoves prevalent throughout the developing world. The stack is fueled by charcoal, and heated to 650-850°C operation temperature during cooking, producing a few watts of electricity. Particular challenges when using charcoal fuel include: thermochemistry in the anode chamber, identification of electrochemically-active species, mineral content of wood chars, and thermal activation of the desired reactions. Performance below 700°C is severely limited, however addition of potassium bicarbonate to the charcoal fuel largely mitigates this issue. The stack survives very rapid thermal cycling and exposure to chloride and potassium contaminants in the uncontrolled cookstove environment. Stacks are field-tested with individual end-users in Kenya.