Abstract This paper report the results of our investigation on electrophoretic deposition (EPD) of YSZ particles from its suspension in acetylacetone onto a non-conducting NiO–YSZ substrate. In principle, it is not possible to carry out electrophoretic deposition on non-conducting substrates. In this case, the EPD of YSZ particles on a NiO–YSZ substrate was made possible through the use of an adequately porous substrate. The continuous pores in the substrates, when saturated with the solvent, helped in establishing a “conductive path” between the electrode and the particles in suspension. Deposition rate was found to increase with increasing substrate porosity up to a certain value. The higher the applied voltage, the faster the deposition. For a given applied voltage, there exists a threshold porosity value below which EPD becomes practically impossible. An SOFC constructed on bi-layers of NiO–YSZ/YSZ with YSZ layer thickness of 40 μm exhibited an open circuit voltage (OCV) of 0.97 V at 650 °C and peak power density of 263.8 mW cm −2 at 850 °C when tested with H 2 as fuel and ambient air as oxidant.