APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Solid oxide fuel cells for vehicles
- Electrolysis cells
- Electrochemical reactors
- Hydrogen electrochemical compression cells
Compared to conventional solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs):
- Increased power density at lower temperatures
- Increased durability at a lower material cost
- High tolerance for thermal and redox cycling
Current solid oxide fuel cells suffer from substantially low power density and are therefore not compatible with vehicular applications. To facilitate the fabrication of high performing and durable cells for commercialization, there is a need to address the rather stagnant progress in metal supported solid oxide fuel cell (MS-SOFC) peak power density and to increase MS-SOFC longevity.
Researchers at Berkeley Lab led by Michael Tucker have developed a post-sintering process that significantly improves the durability and longevity of MS-SOFCs.
The performance vs. durability tradeoff was studied across a range of operation temperatures and catalyst compositions in high-performance MS-SOFCs. Significant improvement in MS-SOFC durability was achieved by implementing pre-oxidation of the metal support, atomic layer deposition (ALD) protective coatings, and in situ catalyst pre-coarsening. Combining these additional steps into the MS-SOFC fabrication process led to two orders of magnitude decrease in degradation rate (2.3%/kh with 3% H2O/ H2 as fuel and the cathode exposed to air), which is within the target range of vehicular applications. The 35% loss in initial power density measured after the post-sintering processing steps is a reasonable tradeoff considering the dramatic durability improvement. Thus, researchers were ultimately able to preserve high performance.
MS-SOFCs have advantages over the existing ceramic-based SOFCs due to their ruggedness, lower cost, high tolerance to temperature changes (operating temperature is 650°C – 800°C), and fast start-up capabilities. Furthermore, the majority of the cell is an inexpensive FeCr-based ferritic stainless steel and only a single co-sintering step is required, which can significantly reduce the materials and fabrication cost.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
STATUS: Patent pending.
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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