Fuel cell is an energy conversion device that converts fuel’s energy into electricity and heat by electrochemical combination of fuel with oxygen without combustion. Therefore efficiency of power generation is not limited by Carnot efficiency. Solid Oxide Fuel Cell is a type of fuel cell that has the highest efficiency of all conversion technologies in a single cycle and due to high operating temperature of SOFC’s, they are able to utilize both carbon monoxide as well as hydrogen for conversion. Also direct use of a hydrocarbon gas such as natural gas or biogas is possible due to internal reforming taking place at SOFC anodes.
The solid oxide cell (SOC) technology of fuel cells can also be applied to high temperature electrolysis. In electrolysis, operating mode of the cells is switched in reverse to produce hydrogen from steam. Similarly like SOFC fuel cells, electrolysis by solid oxide technology (SOEC) is distinguished from competing technologies by higher efficiency of conversion and consequently lower energy consumption for hydrogen production.