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Claims for Patent: 5,549,982

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Claims for Patent: 5,549,982

Title: Fuel cell
Abstract:In a fuel cell, a plurality of cells juxtaposed side by side to constitute together a cell layer and a plurality of cell layers thus prepared are stacked one above another to constitute together a multi-layered fuel cell assembly, In each cell layer, adjacent cells are interconnected and supported via a cell connecting plate member. This connecting plate member includes a cutout extending from one edge to the other opposite edge of the member along the entire length thereof for allowing insertion of opposed opened sides of the adjacent cells to which the inner cell flow passages are opened. The cutout has a depth substantially same as the thickness of the cell. An abutment face is defined in each end face of a pair of partition wall portions adjacent the cutout and a corresponding abutment face is defined in each closed side of the cell adjacent the opened side. As the cutout is partitioned by the opposed partition wall portions of the cutout and by a further adjacent cell connecting plate member, there is formed a connecting flow passage which interconnects the inner cell passages of the adjacent cells of the layer and which is partitioned from an inter-cell flow passage formed between the cells adjacently stacked in the assembly.
Inventor(s): Akagi; Kosuke (Ikoma, JP)
Assignee: Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. (JP)
Application Number:08/537,136
Patent Claims: 1. A fuel cell comprising:

a rectangular plate-like cell including a solid electrolyte layer having an oxygen electrode on one side thereof and a fuel electrode on the other side thereof, and a flow-passage forming member affixed to one of said sides of the electrolyte layer;

a cell layer including a plurality of said cells juxtaposed to each other in the direction of plane of the cell, with opened sides of adjacent cells, to which inner cell flow passages are opened, being aligned in opposition to each other;

a cell assembly including a plurality of said cell layers stacked one above another with a set distance therebetween;

said inner cell flow passages being formed by said flow-passage forming member, and being opened on one pair of opposed opened sides of the cell and closed on the other pair of oppposed closed sides of the cell;

an inter-cell flow passaage formed between the cells adjacent each other in the stacking direction of the cell layer, said inter-cell flow passage being closed on said opposed opened sides of the cell and opened on said opposed closed sides of the cell;

a cell connector member for supporting the adjacent cells of each cell layer and supporting also adjacents cells in the stacking direction of the cell layers with a set distance therebetween, said cell connector member interconnecting said inner cell flow passages of the adjacent cells of each cell layer and forming a connecting flow passage partitioned from said inter-cell flow passage;

said cell connector member comprising a cell connecting plate member including a cutout portion extending from one side edge to the opposite side edge thereof, and a pair of partition wall portions provided on opposed sides of the cutout portion and extending along the entire length of the cutout portion;

said cutout portion allowing, at each of opposed ends thereof, introduction of said opened side of the cell, said cutout portion having a cutting depth about the same as the thickness of the cell; and

an abutment face defined in each end face of the partition wall portions disposed on the opposed sides of the cutout portion, said abutment face coming into sealed abutment against said closed side of the cell adjacent the opened side thereof when the closed side is fitted into an end of the cutout portion.

2. A fuel cell as defined in claim 1, wherein said connecting flow passage is formed by the cutout portion of the cell connecting plate member as being partitioned by the partition wall portions opposed to each other across the cutout portion and partitioned also by a further cell connecting plate member adjacent to the former cell connecting plate member.

3. A fuel cell as defined in claim 1, wherein said cell connecting plate member defines a through hole facing the cutout portion and extending through this plate member in the stacking direction; the through hole defines an inner gas flow passage for communicating the connecting flow passages of the each cell layer; and outer gas flow passages are formed on the opposed sides in the juxtaposing direction of the cells of the cell layer.

4. A fuel cell as defined in claim 1, wherein at least one of the abutment faces is inclined, in the stacking direction of the cell layers, so as to gradually approach the other abutment face as the inclined abutment face extends from the end of the cutout portion toward the inner side thereof; and

the closed side of the cell includes a matching inclined portion which may be placed in sealed abutment against the inclined abutment face.

5. A fuel cell as defined in claim 1, wherein a plurality of said cell assemblies are juxtaposed side by side, with the opened sides thereof to which said inter-cell flow passages are opened being placed in opposition to each other.

6. A fuel cell as defined in claim 3, wherein said inner gas flow passage is used as an inner cell gas supply passage.

7. A fuel cell as defined in claim 3, wherein said inner gas flow passage is used as an inner cell gas exhaust passage.

8. A fuel cell as defined in claim 1, further comprising:

a cell holder member provided at each of the opposed ends of the cell layer in the cell juxtaposing direction, said cell holder member including a cutout portion for introducing the opened side of the cell, and a through hole facing the cutout portion and extending through in the stacking direction of the cell layers,

wherein, said cutout portion includes a pair of abutment faces against which the closed sides adjacent the opened side of the cell are to be brought into sealed contact; and said cutout portion has about the same depth as the thickness of the cell.

9. A fuel cell as defined in claim 8, wherein, each of the opposed ends where the terminal ends of the cell layer in the cell juxtaposing direction are located, said through holes of the cell holder members together form a flow passage extending continuously in the stacking direction of the cell layers; and

said opposed flow passages comprise said outer gas flow passages communicated with the inner cell flow passages of the respective cells adjacent in the stacking direction of the cell layers.

10. A fuel cell as defined in claim 9, wherein one of said outer gas flow passages on the opposed sides in the juxtaposing direction of the cells of the cell layer is used as an inner cell gas exhaust passage and said inner gas flow passage adjacent thereto is used as an inner cell gas supply passage; and

said other outer gas flow passage is used as a further inner cell gas supply passage and said inner gas flow passage adjacent thereto is used as a further inner cell gas exhaust passage.

11. A fuel cell as defined in claim 3, wherein in said cell layer, said cell connecting plate member interposed between the adjacent cells juxtaposed in the center of the cell layer has said through hole and said cell connecting plate member interposed between the other adjacent cells of the cell layer has no through hole.

12. A fuel cell as defined in claim 11, wherein said inner gas flow passage is used as the inner cell gas exhaust passage and said opposed gas flow passages are used as the inner cell gas supply passages, respectively.

13. A fuel cell as defined in claim 1, wherein, each of said opposed partition wall portions of the cell connecting plate member includes a cutout portion extending in parallel with the juxtaposing direction of the cells of the cell layer.

14. A fuel cell as defined in claim 13, further comprising:

a pair of partition wall members disposed to cover a pair of sides of said cell assembly where said closed sides of the cells are located.

15. A fuel cell as defined in claim 14, wherein a space formed between one of said partition wall members and said opened side of the cell assembly is used as an inter-cell gas supply passage, and a space formed between the other partition wall member and said opened side of the cell assembly is used as an inter-cell gas exhaust passage, respectively; and

said cutout portion of the cell connecting plate member communicate said inter-cell gas supply passages with each other and communicate also said inter-cell gas exhaust passages with each other, respectively.

16. A fuel cell as defined in claim 3, wherein said inner gas flow passages and said outer gas flow passages are used so as to provide said inner cell gas supply passage and said inner cell gas exhaust passage alternately to each other.

17. A fuel cell as defined in claim 1, wherein said stacking direction comprises the vertical direction.

18. A fuel cell as defined in claim 1, wherein said stacking direction comprises the horizontal direction.
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