With their high temperatures and brittle ceramic components, solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) might not seem the obvious fit for a power source for transportation applications. However, over recent years, advances in materials and cell design have begun to mitigate these issues, leading to the advantages of SOFCs such as fuel flexibility and high efficiency being exploited in vehicles. Here, we review these advances, look at the vehicles that SOFCs have already been used in, discuss the areas that need improvement for full commercial breakthrough and the ways in which catalysis can assist with these. In particular, we identify lifetime and degradation, fuel flexibility, efficiency and power density as key aspects for SOFCs’ improvement. Expertise from the catalysis landscape, ranging from surface science and computational materials design, to improvements in reforming catalysts and reformer design, are instrumental to this goal.
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Boldrin, P., Brandon, N.P. Progress and outlook for solid oxide fuel cells for transportation applications. Nat Catal 2, 571–577 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41929-019-0310-y
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