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Glass-Ceramic Seal for Solid-Oxide Fuel Cells

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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Scientists at PNNL are developing materials and techniques used to fabricate solid oxide fuel cells.
Scientists at PNNL are developing materials and techniques used to fabricate solid oxide fuel cells.

A computer graphic shows the various layers of the seals.
A computer graphic shows the various layers of the seals.

Technology Marketing Summary

One of the critical issues in designing and fabricating a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack is the development of appropriate materials and techniques for hermetically sealing the metal and/or ceramic components. Researchers at PNNL have developed a unique method that results in a stronger, more robust seal that can stand the tests of time.

Description

The patented glass-ceramic compositions possess high resistivity and holds up well in both reducing and oxidizing environments. Additionally, the glass-ceramic composition can be tailored to yield a wide range of thermal expansions. Sealing temperature may also be adjusted over a range of 750-950° C. The glass-ceramic seal material has exhibited very strong bonding to both zirconia and ceria-based ceramics with little or no interaction after thousands of hours of operation at elevated temperature. Due to the high amount of crystalline material in the seal, it is resistant to creep, which is necessary for long-term operation at temperature. One composition has operated in an SOFC stack in excess of 4,000 hours.

Benefits
  • Thermal expansion and sealing temperature can be tailored to specific need
  • Better structural properties (creates a rigid material without viscous flow)
  • Resulting material is more robust, providing for a stronger seal
  • In manufacture, the method does not require a high compressive load to form a strong seal. This removes load considerations for other components, which must be able to stand up to the load in a load-bearing sealing process.
Applications and Industries
  • Seal tubular and planar ceramic solid oxide fuel cells, oxygen generators, electrolyzers, and membrane reactors
  • Production of syngas, commodity chemicals, and other products
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
12128-EPrototype - Reduced to practiceAvailable - Technology is licensed in limited fields of use. Please check with the PNNL contact listed below regarding specific applications.09/10/201009/10/2010

Contact PNNL About This Technology

To: Jennifer Hodas<Jennifer.Hodas@pnnl.gov>