Direct use of propane and butane in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) is desirable due to the availability of the fuel source, but is challenging due to carbon coking, particularly on the commercially available Ni+YSZ anode. A novel dual chamber Flame-assisted Fuel Cell (FFC) configuration with micro-tubular SOFCs (mT-SOFCs) is proposed for direct use of higher hydrocarbon fuels. Combustion exhaust for propane and butane fuels is analyzed experimentally and compared with chemical equilibrium. mT-SOFC polarization and power density testing in the FFC configuration with propane and butane fuels is discussed. Peak power and electrical efficiency conditions are assessed by varying the fuel-rich combustion equivalence ratio and flow rate. Carbon deposition and soot formation on the Ni+YSZ anode is investigated with a scanning electron microscope. The results indicate that reasonable power density (∼289 mW.cm−2) can be achieved while limiting soot formation in the flame and carbon deposition on the anode. Electrical efficiency based on the higher heating value of the fuels is analyzed and future research is recommended. Possible applications of the technology include small scale power generation, cogeneration and combined cycle power plants.

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