A solid oxide fuel cell having a multichannel electrode architecture and method for preparing the same the method including forming a first carbon laden composition including a first thermoplastic binder into a rod applying a first zirconia laden composition including a second thermoplastic binder onto the rod to form a composite feed rod extruding the composite feed rod to form a controlled geometry filament bundling the extruded composite feed rod to form a multicellular feed rod extruding the multicellular feed rod to form a multicellular rod cutting the multicellular rod into multicellular discs applying a zirconia laden material to one surface of a multicellular discs to form a multicellular structure and heating processing the multicellular structure. The fuel cell is completed by adding anode and cathode materials to the multicellular structure. Non-confidential Abstract of Invention: A fuel cell utilizes the energy produced by a chemical reaction to supply voltage that can be used to power other devices. A solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) possesses three basic parts: an anode a cathode and an electrolyte. A conventional SOFC utilizes a ZrO2 based ceramic for an electrolyte a NiO-ZrO2 composite for an anode and a LaMnO3 based material for the cathode. Using hydrogen gas as the fuel passed to the anode and oxygen gas as the oxidant passed to the cathode a current of oxygen anion charge carriers is produced. In order to supply oxygen efficiently to the electrode/electrolyte interface the electrodes are constructed to be highly porous. However this porosity reduces the mechanical tolerance of the structure. Several geometries have been used to construct electrodes. For example planar cells such as a flat plate construction that may have a self-supporting anode cathode or electrolyte sheet onto which the other components are mounted. However due to the requirements of the fuel cell components supporting members must be fired to low density thus the supporting member possesses low strength. Recent research at the University of Missouri has lead to the development of a solid oxide fuel cell and method for preparing that cell. The cells are made through a co-extrusion process and forming ceramics into a multicellular lattice structure. The invention improves the mechanical strength of the planar SOFC allowing broader application of the design. The inherent brittleness of ceramics has caused manufactures to be hesitant in selecting them for potential fuel cell applications such as automotive electrical subsystems. Planar solid oxide fuel cells rely on either the anode or cathode as the structural supporting member. However these components must be fired to low density (typically 50-70%) to avoid concentration polarization thus the supporting member possesses low relative strength. This invention improves the mechanical properties of the cell providing up to a 10 times increase in mechanical strength.
The invention improves the mechanical strength of the planar SOFC allowing broader application of the design.