The evolution of gases from direct utilization of carbon in a solid oxide fuel cell (C-SOFC) was studied by potentiostatic/galvanostatic discharge of a fuel cell with coconut carbon, a carbonaceous material with low ash and sulfur content. Operation of C-SOFC at 750 °C produced less CO and more CO2 than those predicted by thermodynamic calculation using total Gibbs free energy minimization method. The addition of CO2 to the anode chamber increased CO formation and maximum power density from 0.09 W cm−2 to 0.13 W cm−2, indicating the occurrence of Boudouard reaction (CO2 + C ⇔ 2CO) coupling with CO electrochemical oxidation on the C-SOFC. Analysis of CO and CO2 concentration as a function of current and voltage revealed that electricity was mainly produced from the electrochemical oxidation of carbon at low current density and produced from the electrochemical oxidation of CO at high current density. The results suggest the electrochemical oxidation of solid carbon is more mass transfer limited than electrochemical oxidation of CO.
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