The solid oxide cell is a basis for highly efficient and reversible electrochemical energy conversion. A single cell based on a planar electrolyte substrate as support (ESC) is often utilized for SOFC/SOEC stack manufacturing and fulfills necessary requirements for application in small, medium and large scale fuel cell and electrolysis systems. Thickness of the electrolyte substrate, and its ionic conductivity limits the power density of the ESC. To improve the performance of this cell type in SOFC/SOEC mode, alternative fuel electrodes, on the basis of Ni/CGO as well as electrolytes with reduced thickness, have been applied. Furthermore, different interlayers on the air side have been tested to avoid the electrode delamination and to reduce the cell degradation in electrolysis mode. Finally, the influence of the contacting layer on cell performance, especially for cells with an ultrathin electrolyte and thin electrode layers, has been investigated. It has been found that Ni/CGO outperform traditional Ni/8YSZ electrodes and the introduction of a ScSZ interlayer substantially reduces the degradation rate of ESC in electrolysis mode. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that, for thin electrodes, the application of contacting layers with good conductivity and adhesion to current collectors improves performance significantly.
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