The current work explores the feasibility to improve the performance of a Direct Carbon Fuel Cell (DCFC): CO2 + bituminous coal|Co-CeO2/YSZ/Ag|Air by infusing a gasification catalyst (Co/CeO2) and/or Li-K carbonates mixture into the carbon fuel. The different fuel feedstock mixtures were characterized by various methods, involving chemical composition and proximate analysis, particle size distribution (PSD), X-ray diffraction (XRD), N2 adsorption-desorption (BET method), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), to gain insight into the effect of catalyst and/or carbonates addition to fuel mixture physicochemical characteristics. An increase of the power output up to ca. 20 and 80% is achieved for carbon/catalyst and carbon/catalyst/carbonates mixtures, respectively, in comparison to bare carbon at 700 °C, demonstrating the pronounced effect of catalyst as well as its potential synergy with carbonates. It was also shown that the achieved maximum power density is directly associated with the CO formation rate, implying the importance of in situ formed CO on the electrochemical performance. The obtained findings are further discussed based also on the corresponding AC impedance spectroscopy studies, which revealed the beneficial effect of fuel feedstock additives (catalyst and/or carbonates) on ohmic and electrode polarization resistances. The present results clearly revealed the feasibility to improve the DCFC performance by concurrently infusing a gasification catalyst and carbonates mixture into fuel feedstock.
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