This paper considers recent model results examining the transient performance of three common solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) geometries (cross-flow, co-flow, and counter-flow) during load reduction events. Of particular note for large load decrease (e.g., shutdown) is the occurrence of reverse current over significant portions of the cell, starting from the moment of load loss up to the point where equilibrated conditions again provide positive current. This behavior results from the temperature gradients that exist in an SOFC stack. Also reported are test results from an experiment employing two separate button cells coupled together electrically (anode-to-anode and cathode-to-cathode) which are used to confirm the model predictions. The test results confirm the predictions of the model in that temperature gradients are a driver for current circulation within a cell. Also reported are test results of a button cell operated under reverse current to help begin to identify what effects such operation may have on fuel cell performance and durability.

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