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A Novel Interconnect Scheme for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Stacks

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC\'s) are a rapidly maturing form of alternative (clean) energy that is seeing greater media and investment coverage in recent years see Bloom Energy as a leading example. However one challenge in building cost effective SOFC\'s is the high cost of integrating each cell into a stack and effectively routing the necessary air and fuel to each anode and cathode at each cell within the stack. Creating this necessary electrical interconnection and gas manifolding for fuel cell stacks generally creates a tremendous material cost and material weight burden as well as rendering the completed fuel cell heavier and larger if not optimally designed. To address this design shortcoming researchers at UC San Diego’s Center for Energy Research have developed a new approach to interconnects between fuel cells; permitting flexibility in gas manifolds to optimally manage the supply of fuel and air; providing a lightweight structural scaffold to the SOFC; and serving as an efficient and low contact resistance bus for electrical connection of the overall SOFC stack.

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