This past senior design project involves a five-student team of seniors from the Engineering Division that is designing, constructing, and commissioning a solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) test stand in the Colorado Fuel Cell Center (CFCC).  Funded by the CFCC at a level of nearly $20,000, the results of this project have brought key technological capabilities to the Colorado School of Mines, enabling the electrochemical performance testing of SOFC’s fabricated at the Colorado Fuel Cell Center.  The test stand also allows the simulation of a wide variety of fuel streams, including biomass- or coal-derived syngas, steam-reformed natural gas, sulfur-containing fuels, or hydrogen.  The test stand is expected to have a lifetime of 10 years, and will enable graduate- and undergraduate-student development of SOFCs at the CFCC, while promoting research on the use of hydrocarbon fuels in solid-oxide fuel cells.

Student Rob Donley now works at a local fuel-cell developer, Protonex Technology Corporation, developing SOFC test stands and measuring SOFC performance.

Solid-oxide fuel cell test stand project

From left to right: Rob Donley,
Brian Curkendall, Cole Rickers,
Scott Waggy, and Martin Schmidt.