Solid oxide fuel cells are a promising, highly efficient route for converting chemical energy into electrical energy. An attractive aspect of solid oxide fuel cells is that they can operate on a wide variety of fuels. In the device, oxygen is reduced on a cathode and diffuses through an electrolyte to an anode where it can oxidize fuel and release electrons which are collected to generate electricity. Efficient operation of the device requires selection of materials with high oxygen ionic conductivity and high catalytic activity for oxygen reduction and fuel oxidation. Most commercially available solid oxide fuel cells operate at 800oC or higher and such high temperature operation can lead to materials degradation and failure. Moreover, the use of carbonaceous fuel may result in carbon deposition on the anode degrading cell performance. Consequently there is interest in developing novel materials that can deliver high ionic conductivity and catalytic activity at lower temperatures (500 600oC) and minimize carbon deposition. Doped cerium oxides are one class of materials which show high ionic conductivity and suppression of carbon. However, there are many fundamental questions about the nanoscale structures and properties of these materials under real operating conditions. Characterizing materials functionalities at the atomic level has been challenging in part because of the lack of suitable in situ characterization tools. However, recent developments in in situ environmental transmission electron microscopy now make it feasible to investigate the dynamic nanoscale changes taking place in materials under electrochemical conditions relevant to solid oxide fuel cells.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/13 → 8/31/19|
- National Science Foundation (NSF): $527,626.00