During latter-stage, “start-up” heating of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack to a desired operating temperature, heat may be generated in an accelerating manner during the establishment of electrochemical reactions. This is because a temperature rise in the stack causes an acceleration of electrochemical transport given the typical Arrhenius nature of the electrolyte conductivity. Considering a potentiostatic condition (i.e., prescribed cell potential), symbiosis thus occurs because greater current prevalently leads to greater by-product heat generation, and vice versa. This interplay of the increasing heat generation and electrochemistry is termed “light off”, and an initial model has been developed to characterize this important thermal cycling phenomenon. The results of the simulation begin elucidating the prospect of using cell potential as well as other electrochemical operating conditions (e.g., reactants utilization) as dynamic controls in managing light off transients and possibly mitigating thermal cycling issues.

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