Georgia Tech group develops high-performance intermediate-temperature sold-oxide gasoline cell

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A group from Georgia Tech, with colleagues on the college of Kansas, has designed a high-performance solid-oxide gasoline cell that operates straight on practically dry (solely ~three.5 vol% H2O) methane at 500 °C, demonstrating a peak energy density of zero.37 W cm−2 whereas sustaining wonderful sturdiness (no proof of coking after ~550 h of steady operation). A paper on their work is printed in Nature Power.


Construction and efficiency of an intermediate-temperature gasoline cell. a, Schematics of a single cell (the yellow and gray grains signify the BZCYYb and the Ni part, respectively). b, A scanning electron micrograph of a single cell, together with a fiber cathode, a dense electrolyte, an AFL and an ASL. c, A cross-sectional view of the ASL and the ARL. d, A top-down view of the ARL. e, I–V and I–P curves of a single cell when operated at 500 °C utilizing H2 (black strains) or methane (purple strains) (with ~three.5 % H2O) because the gasoline and ambient air because the oxidant. f, Present density of a single cell at a continuing cell voltage of zero.75 V when methane (with ~three.5% H2O) or H2 was used because the gasoline and ambient air was used because the oxidant. Chen et al.

Stable oxide gasoline cells (SOFCs) are probably probably the most environment friendly expertise for direct conversion of hydrocarbons to electrical energy. Whereas their industrial viability is best at working temperatures of 300–500 °C, this can be very troublesome to run SOFCs on methane at these temperatures, the place oxygen discount and C–H activation are notoriously sluggish. Right here we report a strong SOFC that enabled direct utilization of practically dry methane (with ~three.5% H2O) at 500 °C (attaining a peak energy density of zero.37 W cm−2) with no proof of coking after ~550 h operation.

The cell consists of a PrBazero.5Srzero.5Co1.5Fezero.5O5+δ nanofibre-based cathode and a BaZrzero.1Cezero.7Yzero.1Ybzero.1Othree–δ-based multifunctional anode coated with Cezero.90Nizero.05Ruzero.05O2 (CNR) catalyst for reforming of CHfour to H2 and CO. The excessive exercise and coking resistance of the CNR is attributed to a synergistic impact of cationic Ni and Ru websites anchored on the CNR floor, as confirmed by in situ/operando experiments and computations.

—Chen et al.

Methane gasoline cells often require temperatures of 750 to 1,000 levels Celsius to run. The brand new one wants solely about 500 levels—a notch cooler than car combustion engines, which run at round 600 levels Celsius.

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The decrease temperature may set off cascading price financial savings within the ancillary expertise wanted to function a gasoline cell, probably pushing the brand new cell to industrial viability. The researchers really feel assured that engineers can design electrical energy items round this gasoline cell with cheap effort, one thing that has eluded earlier methane gasoline cells.

Our cell may make for a simple, sturdy total system that makes use of low cost stainless-steel to make interconnectors. Above 750 levels Celsius, no steel would face up to the temperature with out oxidation, so that you’d have a whole lot of hassle getting supplies, and they might be extraordinarily costly and fragile, and contaminate the cell.

—Meilin Liu, who led the research and is a Regents’ Professor in Georgia Tech’s Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering

Interconnectors are elements that assist carry collectively many gasoline cells right into a stack, or useful unit.

Decreasing the temperature to 500 levels Celsius is a sensation in our world. Only a few folks have even tried it. Once you get that low, it makes the job of the engineer designing the stack and related applied sciences a lot simpler.

—Ben deGlee, co-author

The brand new cell additionally eliminates the necessity for a serious ancillary gadget referred to as a steam reformer, which is generally wanted to transform methane and water into hydrogen gasoline.

The work was funded by the US Division of Power (DOE) Workplace of Primary Power Sciences and Superior Analysis Tasks Company-Power (ARPA-E); it was additionally funded by the Nationwide Science Basis’s Division of Chemistry.

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If it goes to market, although the brand new cell may not energy vehicles for some time, it may land sooner in basements as a part of a extra decentralized, cleaner, cheaper electrical energy grid. The gasoline cell stack itself can be in regards to the measurement of a shoebox, plus ancillary expertise to make it run.

The brand new catalyst, CNR, manufactured by analysis collaborators on the College of Kansas, is the outer layer of the anode aspect of the cell and doubles as a protectant towards decay, extending the lifetime of the cell. CNR has robust cohort catalysts in interior layers and on the opposite aspect of the cell, the cathode.

On the cathode finish, oxygen’s response and motion by means of the system are often notoriously sluggish, however Liu’s lab has lately sped it as much as increase the electrical energy output through the use of what’s referred to as nanofiber cathodes, which Liu’s lab developed in a previous research.

The buildings of those numerous catalysts, in addition to the nanofiber cathodes, all collectively allowed us to drop the working temperature.

—Yu Chen

Sources

  • Yu Chen, Ben deGlee, Yu Tang, Ziyun Wang, Bote Zhao, Yuechang Wei, Lei Zhang, Seonyoung Yoo, Kai Pei, Jun Hyuk Kim, Yong Ding, P. Hu, Franklin Feng Tao & Meilin Liu (2018) “A sturdy gasoline cell operated on practically dry methane at 500 °C enabled by synergistic thermal catalysis and electrocatalysis” Nature Power doi: 10.1038/s41560-018-0262-5


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