Particle processing is a key to using solid particles in fuel cell applications. Selectivity with regard to reactivity, impurities, etc. is important feature and the treatment of particle surfaces could greatly impact the performance of direct carbon fuel cells. Solid fuel particles will become increasingly important in the future. Present energy conversion systems for solid fuels are too inefficient. New energy conversion systems for solid fuels with higher energy conversion efficiencies are possible. Fuel cell technology is a key-technology in these new conversion systems. The direct carbon fuel cell (DCFC) operates on carbon particles obtained from a variety of solid fuel feedstocks. The DCFC is the only fuel cell designed to directly oxidize carbon particles in a special anode chamber. The particles are generally graphite structure with high purity. The electrolyte used is the high temperature solid oxide, molten carbonate or hydroxide electrolyte. Since a pure stream of CO2 is produced the stream can easily be sequestered and disposed. Pure carbon dioxide produced as a by-product would also have a market in many industries. A well-defined technology roadmap identifying key research and development (R&D) issues is necessary to provide a framework for the development of these systems and to prevent entrenchment in inherently inefficient technologies. This review paper describes the direct carbon fuel cell and its system, how it works, the developmental status, the characteristics of the carbon particles needed, and the research and development issues for the technology.