- NON-TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION: Solid oxide fuel cells based on the conduction of hydrogen ions (called protons) are a type of electrical power generation device that stands to offer much higher efficiency and lower emission than current technologies. Such proton conducting solid oxide fuel cells (PC-SOFCs) can utilize a wide range of fuels from pure hydrogen to readily available hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas and biogas. This project aims to generate new fundamental knowledge about a very important reaction involving hydrogen gas at the negative electrode of PC-SOFCs at temperatures relevant to operation. It also aims to develop new electrode materials that could further enhance the performance and robustness of PC-SOFCs. Knowledge from this project can be leveraged to other applications such as electrochemical energy storage, chemical production, and sensors. The project promotes education in advanced ceramic materials at Florida International University (FIU) and the broader southern Florida region through various education and outreach activities.TECHNICAL DETAILS: Despite the advantages of PC-SOFCs such as higher theoretical efficiency and potential for reduced degradation, many fundamental aspects are not known. This project aims to generate new knowledge about the very important hydrogen electrode reaction for PC-SOFCs using a combined set of technical approaches. For example, PC-SOFC button cells with patterned metal electrodes are used together with theoretical modeling to reveal the linkage between hydrogen electrode reaction kinetics and electrode geometry. Study of the impacts of fuel contaminants (e.g., hydrogen sulfide) help clarify the origins and the limitations of PC-SOFCs' intriguing electrochemical behaviors such as better sulfur tolerance. These studies also provide insights about the underlying hydrogen electrode reaction mechanism. On the other hand, new hydrogen electrode materials are designed via catalyst infiltration or exsolution techniques. Tailored doping of highly conductive oxides is being carried out to achieve mixed proton-electron conduction or better tolerance to fuel contaminant (e.g., carbon dioxide) for further improved PC-SOFCs. The education and outreach activities aim to raise awareness and interest, enhance access to related knowledge, and provide engagement in research for students (especially minority students), with these efforts centered around advanced ceramic materials. For example, video recording of lectures and important lab procedures are provided on the web. In addition, mobile social networks tools such as WhatsApp are actively adopted for communication.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
- April 1, 2019 - March 31, 2024
sponsor award ID
- Award Recognition Y3 (DMR-1848305)
local award ID
- Cheng, Zhe Principal Investigator