With the steady decline in the cost of PV solar/wind and fuel cells, such integrated energy systems are becoming the reality and provide a sustainable energy solution leading to a net zero-emissions electrical grid.
They are made up of three adjacent segments: the anode, the electrolyte, and the cathode.
Two chemical reactions occur at the interfaces of the three different segments.
The high operating temperature of SOFC systems favors the rapid reaction kinetics and steam reforming.
Fuel cells are different from most batteries in requiring a continuous source of fuel and oxygen (usually from air) to sustain the chemical reaction, whereas in a battery the chemical energy usually comes from metals and their ions or oxides that are commonly already present in the battery, except in flow batteries.