Direct carbon fuel cell

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A Direct Carbon Fuel Cell (DCFC) is a fuel cell that uses a carbon rich material as a fuel. The cell produces energy by combining carbon and oxygen, which releases carbon dioxide as a by-product.[1]

The total reaction of the cell is C + O2 → CO2. The process in half cell notation:

  • Anode: C + 2 O2− → CO2 + 4 e
  • Cathode: O2 + 4 e → 2 O2−

Despite this release of carbon dioxide, the direct carbon fuel cell is more environmentally friendly than traditional carbon burning techniques. Due to its higher efficiency, it requires less carbon to produce the same amount of energy. Also, because pure carbon dioxide is emitted, carbon capture techniques are much cheaper than for conventional power stations. Utilized carbon can be in the form of coal, coke, char, or a non-fossilized source of carbon.[2][3]

At least four types of DCFC exist:

  • The first one is based on the Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) concept.[4][5]
  • The second one is molten hydroxides fuel cell. William W. Jacques obtained an US Patent 555,511 in this type of fuel cell in 1896. Prototypes have been demonstrated by the research group, SARA, Inc.[6]
  • The third one is based on the Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC) concept. William W. Jacques obtained a Canadian patent in this type of fuel cell in 1897.[7] It has been developed further at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.[8]
  • The fourth is a molten tin anode solid oxide fuel cell design, which utilizes molten tin and tin oxide as an inter stage reaction between oxidation of the carbon dissolving in the anode and reduction of oxygen at the solid oxide cathode.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Giddey, S; Badwal SPS, Kulkarni A and Munnings C (2012). "A comprehensive review of direct carbon fuel cell technology". Progress in energy and combustion science 38 (3): 360–399. doi:10.1016/j.pecs.2012.01.003. 
  2. ^ Rady, Adam C.; Giddey, Sarbjit; Kulkarni, Aniruddha; Badwal, Sukhvinder P.S.; Bhattacharya, Sankar (October 2014). "Degradation Mechanism in a Direct Carbon Fuel Cell Operated with Demineralised Brown Coal". Electrochimica Acta 143: 278–290. doi:10.1016/j.electacta.2014.07.088. 
  3. ^ Munnings, C.; Kulkarni, A.; Giddey, S.; Badwal, S.P.S. (August 2014). "Biomass to power conversion in a direct carbon fuel cell". International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 39 (23): 12377–12385. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2014.03.255. 
  4. ^ A Kulkarni, FT Ciacchi, S Giddey, C Munnings, SPS Badwal, JA Kimpton, D Fini (2012). "Mixed ionic electronic conducting perovskite anode for direct carbon fuel cells". International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 37 (24): 19092–19102. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2012.09.141. 
  5. ^ Tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Technology, US Dept of Energy, retrieved 2012-01-01 
  6. ^ Abundant Pollution-free Electricity Generation, retrieved 2012-01-01 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Turning carbon directly into electricity, 2001, retrieved 2012-01-01 
  9. ^
  10. ^ CSIRO. "Advanced carbon power". Retrieved 2015-02-12. 


External links[edit]